Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has partnered with Intarcia Therapeutics, Inc. to develop an under-the-skin device that will pump a daily dose of the HIV Prevention Drug PrEP. The Gates Foundation is helping by giving $140 million.

The device was unveiled last year, and it is made for those with chronic illness, including a similar version for diabetes type 2 patients, and can reduce the risk of contracting HIV. The PrEP dose it delivers can delay the symptoms as well.

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has partnered with Intarcia Therapeutics, Inc. Photo credit: Day in Tech History
Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has partnered with Intarcia Therapeutics, Inc. Photo credit: Day in Tech History

“The relationship with the Gates Foundation will fully leverage Intarcia’s innovative Medici Drug Delivery System by developing the first once- or twice-yearly anti-HIV prophylactic therapy that can fit seamlessly into people’s lives and enable optimal adherence and effectiveness,” stated the company.

The fight against HIV

Millions have died due to HIV since it was identified in 1981. However, more than 30 years have gone by and still there is no cure for AIDS. Once a person gets the virus, the virus remains in the body about ten years before showing symptoms. During all that time it eats up healthy cells until the immune system cannot longer face the virus, and then possibly lead to AIDS.

Several treatments have emerged in the last years to delay the symptoms and the spread of the virus in the organism, for example, pre-exposure prophylaxis medicines. According to Matthew Hodson, executive director of NAM, data shows that PrEP is extremely efficient at preventing HIV. The success rate depends on people’s ability to be adherent to the drugs. He also said that mini-pumps or long-term injectables make it easier for people to maintain a sufficient level of the drugs in the body to prevent transmissions.

The world has joined to face a disease that continues to affect millions. One of the latest developments in HIV prevention is the one made by Intarcia Pharmaceutics. It is creating an intradermal implant that delivers a dose of the pre-exposure prophylaxis to the body delaying the spread of the virus and reducing the chances of contagion.

Bill Gates is willing to contribute to reducing HIV/AIDS

To ensure the development of such a promising device that could advance in the treatment of chronical diseases, the Gates Foundation directed $140 million to Intarcia Pharmaceutics. 50 of the $140 million will go for program-related investment, and the remaining $90 million are part of non-dilutive milestone-based grants tied to the HIV prophylactic program.

“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 difference for people most in need,” said Desmond-Hellmann, who is the CEO of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Kurt Graves – chairman, president and CEO of Intarcia Therapeutics, Inc. said that they are excited to work with such a forward-looking organization as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. He also stated that they want to solve one of the biggest health problems that affect millions of lives every day. About 36.7 million people live with HIV in the world, and almost 71 percent of these people are from Sub-Saharan Africa. As well, 1.8 million kids have the virus.

Source: Daily Disruption