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First Dual-Protection Intravaginal Ring Design Shows Promise In Long-Term HIV & Pregnancy Prevention: American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists


11/12/2013 1:50:08 PM

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Arlington, Va. — A new intravaginal ring (IVR) has been developed for the sustained 90-day co-delivery of tenofovir and levonorgestrel, an anti-human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) drug and a contraceptive. Tenofovir is the only topical prophylactic shown to be effective at reducing the sexual transmission of HIV when formulated in a gel. This research is being presented at the 2013 American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists (AAPS) Annual Meeting and Exposition, the world’s largest pharmaceutical sciences meeting, in San Antonio, Nov. 10–14.

While there are 35.3 million people living with HIV around the world, approximately 87 million unintended pregnancies occur each year, according to the World Health Organization. Meredith Clark, Ph.D., and David Friend, Ph.D., from CONRAD, a reproductive health research organization, in collaboration with the University of Utah, created this IVR using a dual-protection or multipurpose prevention technology (MPT) to concurrently protect women from the sexual transmission of HIV and unintended pregnancy.

They designed the ring using reservoir-type polyurethane segments that were individually optimized to deliver each drug at the desired dosage—a high flux of tenofovir and low flux of levonorgestrel. The researchers performed in-vitro release testing, and 3-month pharmacokinetic (PK) studies in rabbits and sheep were done in comparison against the tenofovir gel.

The PK studies found that local levels of tenofovir in the target tissue delivered from the IVR are similar or higher than the levels following gel application. In addition, release of the contraceptive agent was consistent with previous levels tested to be efficacious in women.

“We saw the urgent need to make this dual-protection intravaginal ring because a majority of the world’s unintended pregnancies occur within resource-poor regions where the HIV/AIDS pandemic is most prevalent, such as sub-Saharan Africa,” said Clark. “MPTs are a relatively new reproductive health technology that we expect will have a good deal of support from potential users, donors, and public health organizations, particularly in the developing world. We anticipate a lot of excitement for this product, as it is the first dual-protection ring to be evaluated clinically.”

A team of investigators led by Patrick Kiser, now at Northwestern University, in partnership with CONRAD, presented research at the 2012 AAPS Annual Meeting on an intravaginal ring to deliver solely tenofovir. (Click here to view this release from last year’s Annual Meeting.)

CONRAD’s Product Development group and collaborators are continuing stability studies now and anticipate beginning with phase 1 clinical trials in women in early 2014, testing the combination anti-HIV/contraceptive IVR versus the anti-HIV-only IVR.

The 2013 AAPS Annual Meeting and Exposition aims to improve global health through advances in pharmaceutical sciences, and there will be 480 exhibits and an estimated 8,000 attendees. The meeting features nearly 105 programming sessions, including more than 50 symposia and roundtables. Download the AAPS smartphone application for additional information.

Editor’s Note: All press must provide press credentials to attend this meeting and register on-site in the press room #213. To schedule an interview with Dr. Clark or for any other press inquiry, please contact Hillarie Turner or Dana Korsen at aaps@ecius.net or 202-296-2002. For the most up-to-date program information, please click here.

About AAPS:

The American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists is a professional, scientific association of approximately 11,000 members employed in academia, industry, government and other research institutes worldwide. Founded in 1986, AAPS provides a dynamic international forum for the exchange of knowledge among scientists to serve the public and enhance their contributions to health. AAPS offers timely scientific programs, on-going education, information resources, opportunities for networking, and professional development. For more information, please visit www.aaps.org. Follow us on Twitter @AAPSComms; official Twitter hashtag for the meeting is: #AAPS2013.

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