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GlaxoSmithKline reports positive results from phase III trial of its two-drug HIV treatment

The GEMINI trials showed that HIV could be treated with a two-drug regimen, as opposed to the cocktail of three or more drugs which sufferers currently have to take
aids patient in doctors
Fewer drugs should mean fewer side effects, scientists reckon

GlaxoSmithKline plc’s (LON:GSK) majority-owned ViiV Healthcare division has reported positive results from two phase III studies of its two-drug HIV treatment.

Currently, HIV sufferers have to take a cocktail of drugs every day to keep the virus at bay but GSK, along with others, have been working on new treatments that contain fewer drugs and can be taken less frequently.

Results from the GEMINI-1 and GEMINI-2 studies have shown that the two-drug regimen of dolutegravir and lamivudine is just as effective as the standard three-drug regimen of dolutegravir and two nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors.

READ: GSK's two drug, one pill HIV treatment gets green light

Besides making life easier for HIV patients, scientists believe that having to take fewer medicines will lead to fewer side effects.

“The GEMINI studies demonstrate the potency, safety and tolerability of the dolutegravir plus lamivudine combination,” said ViiV’s chief medical officer John Pottage.

“They affirm our two-drug regimen strategy and reinforce our belief that many patients can control their disease with two drugs instead of three or more.

He added: “Importantly, the studies show that this two-drug regimen could be an option for treatment naïve patients and can support a broad range of patients living with HIV around the world.”

Full results from the studies will be presented at an upcoming meeting and ViiV said it will now plan for regulatory submissions for the two-drug regimen later this year.

"We believe this is an important boost to GSK’s longer term position in HIV vs Gilead but expect the share reaction to be more muted given consensus scepticism on duals’ adoption without long term data on resistance," said Liberum analyst Graham Doyle.

Shares rose 1.3% to £15.65 in early deals.

--Updates for analyst comment and share price--

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