A new pill to treat HIV just got approved -- and it could shake up a $22 billion market

NIAIDScanning electromicrograph of an HIV-infected T cell.
  • The FDA just approved a new combination of drugs to treat HIV.
  • The treatment combines three drugs into one daily pill: bictegravir, emtricitabine and tenofovir alafenamide.
  • The new approval could shake up the $US22 billion HIV drug market.

The FDA just approved a new, once-a-day pill to treat HIV.

The pill, made by Gilead Sciences, contains bictegravir, along with emtricitabine and tenofovir alafenamide, two drugs that are considered the “backbone” of HIV treatments. Of the three treatments contained in the pill, bictegravir is the only totally new element.

Up until recently, people living with HIV suppress the virus with a regimen of three or four pills. Keeping the amount of HIV in the blood low is key for suppressing symptoms of the virus.

In November, the FDA approved a rival treatment that uses two drugs in one pill: dolutegravir with rilpivirine. “Limiting the number of drugs in any HIV treatment regimen can help reduce toxicity for patients,” Dr. Debra Birnkrant, director of the division of antiviral products at the FDA said in a press release.

The approval of Gilead’s pill along with GSK’s from November could shake up the $US22 billion HIV drug market.

Biktarvy tablet HIVGileadA tablet of HIV treatment Biktarvy.

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