Intarcia Aims to Develop the First Once- or Twice-yearly Anti-HIV Prophylactic

An emerging pharmaceutical company has partnered up with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to use its innovative technology to assist in the fight against HIV.

Intarcia Therapeutics, an innovative biopharmaceutical company, has just secured $206 million in the second close of the Series EE equity financing. As a part of this, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will provide Intarcia with $140 million in grants and equity to finance their efforts to prevent HIV in countries that have been hit especially hard by the virus.

In a recent press release, Intarcia explained how their technology platform, the Medici Drug Delivery System, can assist in the fight against HIV, a virus that has infected 36.7 million individuals worldwide. However, the virus is most severe in underdeveloped countries such as Sub-Saharan Africa, where currently, 1,000 individuals become infected each day.

The platform is a “proprietary subcutaneous delivery system” that consists of three different technologies. The first is “stabilization technology,” one that can stabilize a number of small, potent molecules—peptides, proteins, antibody fragments—for three years or more, at or above human body temperatures. The second is a mini-pump the size of a matchstick; this pump is placed under the skin and has been designed to administer “a continuous and consistent flow of medication.” Lastly, it’s comprised of “placement technology,” which consists of tools that have been “designed to provide an optimal user experience.” Upon drug approval, the Medici Drug Delivery System device can be placed under the skin in an in-office procedure by healthcare officials.

Through this initative, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will invest up to $140 million into Intarcia efforts to create an implantable anti-HIV prophylactic that will only need to be administered once or twice a year. In order for any means of HIV prevention to prove successful, individuals need to adhere to their treatment regimens. Researchers hope that a once- or twice-yearly anti-HIV prophylactic therapy will inspire increased adherence, and therefore, result in increased effectiveness.

In the press release, Sue Desmond-Hellmann, MD, MPH, CEO of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation said, “There’s a vital need for an HIV/AIDS intervention that allows those at risk to incorporate prevention more easily into their daily lives. We feel optimistic about our partnership with Intarcia and the prospect of an implantable prophylactic device that could make a world of a difference for people most in need.”

In addition to assisting in the prevention of HIV and a number of other infectious diseases, Intarcia is also working on making advancements in treatment of type 2 diabetes. On November 21, the company submitted its first nondisclosure agreement for ITCA 650, a therapy designed to be administered twice-yearly with the help of the Medici Drug Delivery System. According to the press release, “In its Phase 3 clinical trials for type 2 diabetes, ITCA 650 was evaluated while delivering a continuous and consistent drug therapy in a three-month initiation dose, followed by consecutive six-month doses.” ITCA 650 has the potential to be the first “injection-free GLP receptor agonist therapy” of its kind.

In the press release, Kurt Graves, chairman, president, and CEO of Intarcia Therapeutics, Inc. commented, “Over the last five years we have successfully brought to life the vision and promise of our disruptive Medici technology platform, and an expanding pipeline of novel therapeutics. With Medici, and each of our new once- or twice-yearly therapies, we are aiming to solve some of the biggest unmet needs in the treatment and prevention of major chronic diseases that impact millions and millions of lives every day.”