Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. has added new weapons to its arsenal of strategies to fight HIV and AIDS by acquiring worldwide development and marketing rights from Novartis AG for two early-stage protease inhibitors.
Under terms of the agreement, Bristol-Myers, of Princeton, N.J., will initiate Phase II clinical trials for BMS-234475 (CGP-61755), a peptidomimetic HIV protease inhibitor, and preclinical studies of BMS-232623 (CGP-73547), an azapeptide inhibitor of HIV protease.
Financial terms were not disclosed.
BMS-234475 belongs to the same class of anti-HIV agents as saquinavir, indinavir, ritonavir and nelfinavir.
"These compounds will be a nice compliment to our existing HIV products," said Peggy Ballman, director of public affairs at Bristol-Myers. "We are committed to providing a comprehensive range of therapies for HIV-AIDS patients."
Bristol-Myers markets two nucleoside analogues, Zerit (stavudine, d4T) and Videx (didanosine, ddI), which have been demonstrated to produce significant and sustained reductions in HIV in the body and are associated with limited resistance.
In addition to Videx and Zerit, Bristol-Myers' products for HIV and AIDS include Megace Oral Suspension for HIV anorexia and cachexia and Fungizone Oral Suspension for oral candidiasis in HIV-infected patients.
Ballman said the Phase I/II trial for BMS-234475 will get under way in several months and will be conducted by an outside contract research organization.
Novartis is located in Basel, Switzerland.
Bristol-Myers Squibb's stock (NYSE:BMY) closed Tuesday at $74.875, up $1.625. *