London: Gilead Sciences said on Thursday a late-stage study showed its injectable drug, lenacapavir, was more effective in preventing HIV infection in women compared to the company’s existing daily pill Truvada.

There were zero incident cases of HIV infection among women who received lenacapavir, Gilead said.

Shares of the drugmaker rose 3 per cent to $65.08 in premarket trading.

Lenacapavir was well-tolerated with no significant or new safety concerns in the study, the company said, adding that more detailed data would be presented at a future conference.

About 1.2 million people in the United States have HIV, according to the CDC.

Truvada, which combines the medicines tenofovir and emtricitabine, is used to treat HIV and also in a prevention regimen known as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP).

PrEP can lower the risk of getting HIV from sex by about 99 per cent, according to the CDC.

Lenacapavir, branded as Sunlenca and given twice a year, gained U.S. approval in 2022 as a long-acting treatment option for heavily pre-treated patients infected with HIV and who have become resistant to multiple drugs.

In the study, which had more than 5,300 cisgender women and adolescent girls aged 16-25, participants received either lenacapavir, Descovy or Truvada.

Cisgender refers to people who identify as the sex assigned to them at birth, while transgender is an umbrella term for those who do not, and non-binary is for those who do not identify exclusively as a man or woman, according to the Human Rights Campaign.

A once-daily pill, Descovy was approved in 2019 to reduce the risk of sexually acquired HIV infection in men and transgender women who have sex with men.

Gilead said it expects results from another late-stage trial testing lenacapavir for PrEP among men who have sex with men, transgender men, transgender women and gender non-binary individuals who have sex with partners assigned male, in late 2024 or early 2025.

(Reporting by Mariam Sunny in Bengaluru; Editing by Krishna Chandra Eluri)

  • Published On Jun 21, 2024 at 02:23 PM IST

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