International Partnership for Microbicides (IPM)
Johnson & Johnson's Tibotec affiliate established a first-of-its-kind public-private partnership with the non-profit International Partnership for Microbicides (IPM) in 2004, providing a royalty-free license and technology transfer to develop, manufacture and distribute TMC120 as a topical vaginal microbicide to reduce sexual transmission of HIV in developing countries. IPM is conducting safety trials of TMC120 as a vaginal gel in Belgium, South Africa, Rwanda and Tanzania.
In October 2005, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Merck & Co., Inc. jointly announced that each had granted separate royalty-free licenses to IPM to develop, manufacture and distribute their new antiretroviral compounds as microbicides to protect women from HIV in resource poor countries. The compounds concerned are part of a class of antiretrovirals known as "entry inhibitors", some of which bind directly to the HIV itself, others to the CCR5 receptor. They are designed to prevent HIV from entering host cells efficiently, thus preventing infection.
In December 2006, Gilead granted royalty-free rights to the IPM and Conrad to develop, manufacture, and distribute tenofovir gel as a microbicide. The gel is currently being evaluated in Phase II/III clinical studies conducted by the HIV Prevention Trials Network (HPTN), Microbicide Trials Network (MTN), and the Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa (CAPRISA).
In January 2008, Pfizer agreed to give IPM a royalty-free license to maraviroc, its newly-approved HIV treatment, as a microbicide for the prevention of HIV infection. Maraviroc is one of a new class of antiretroviral drugs known as CCR5 blockers. Under this agreement, IPM will work to develop maraviroc as a vaginal microbicide with the right to develop, manufacture and distribute it in developing countries. Pfizer has granted these rights to IPM without a royalty.
In March 2008, Merck agreed to provide a royalty-free license to IPM to develop a novel antiretroviral compound for use as a potential vaginal microbicide. The compound is a member of a class of antiretroviral molecules known as "fusion inhibitors", which inhibit HIV infection by preventing the virus from fusing with the surface of target cells, an early step in the HIV infection process potentially representing a novel way to block infection.