Viriom, also based in Russia, recently licensed development and commercialization rights to the candidate antivirals for the Russian, Belarusian, Ukrainian and Kazakhstani markets from Swiss drug major Roche.
Under the new agreement, CDRI will be responsible for clinical development of the compounds in a project that is expected to begin in 2010.
Irina Tyrnova, Viriom’s COO, told Outsourcing-pharma that CDRI’s 19-year track record of research, experienced staff and ability to provide a complete range of drug development services had won it the contract.
Tyrnova went on to say that the two compounds licensed from Roche have complete preclinical development profiles and are ready for Phase I trials. She added that Viriom is now preparing the necessary paperwork to begin the clinical programme.
In a press statement Vadim Bichko, ChemDiv’s VP of virology, said the: “HIV inhibitors have shown excellent antiviral properties in vitro, good bioavailability, PK and safety profiles, as well as a high genetic barrier to resistance.
Bichko added that, based on preclinical development work conducted so far, the compounds have the potential to become best in class HIV treatments.
In April ChemDiv significantly expanded its presence in Russia with the acquisition of local contract research organisation (CRO) Prudentas in a bid to increase access to the country's large pool of treatment naive patients.
HIV in the region
Last year a report by the United Nations’ HIV/AIDS monitoring group, UNAIDS, estimated that, in Russia alone, between 630,000 and 1.3 million people are infected with HIV.
These estimates differ significantly from the official position, as of June this year 494,074 cases were registered with the Russian authorities. However, which ever figures are correct it is clear that the Russian market for HIV treatments is substantial.
In the Ukraine the picture is similar. Current UNAIDS estimates suggest that 440,000 people live with HIV. In Belarus and Kazakhstan 13,000 and 12,000 citizens are thought to be infected by the virus.
Tyrnova also recognised the scale of the HIV epidemic in the region, describing the market as having “huge potential” but stressed that Viriom’s primary concern is the development of antivirals that help patients living with the disease.
She also explained that, in Russia, “[the development of] HIV treatment receives considerable support from the government,” and added that Viriom wants the level of support to continue.