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What Makes Cabotegravir a Unique Medication for HIV?


Alex Rinehart, PhD, Director, Global Prevention Strategy, ViiV Healthcare, explains what makes cabotegravir a unique medication for HIV.

Interview Transcript (slightly modified for readability):

“There are a number of things that make both cabotegravir and the development program unique. Firstly, we are developing cabotegravir for both treatment and prevention, simultaneously. That’s the first time that has ever occurred for an anti-HIV drug.
For cabotegravir, there are [also] unique inherent properties that make it very amenable to [being developed as] a long-acting formulation. It’s the first one of its kind, for HIV. Cabotegravir has inherent low solubility and a long terminal half-life. Both of those properties lend it to a formulation as a long-acting injectable.
With respect to prevention, the fact that it does not require any special light storage, or, more importantly, does not require refrigeration, really makes it a powerful candidate for HIV prevention, especially in resource-limited settings.
Cabotegravir is also a member of the integrase class. Out of all the drugs that have been developed before, or have been explored before for PrEP—which include nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs) and non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTIs)—this is now the first integrase inhibitor which is being explored for PrEP.

I can’t begin to tell you how unique this program is, to be literally at the cutting edge of developing a long-acting injectable. Everything we’ve known about pills and tablets just goes completely out the window. It is all completely new for a long-acting injectable agent. It is something new every day, it feels like, and the challenges and the excitement [over surmounting these challenges] is tremendous. We have a real opportunity for prevention, for sure, to bring hopefully another new option for HIV prevention.”
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