August 21, 2017
Two very interesting early studies were presented at IAS 2017 for the investigational NRTI MK-8591 (EFdA).
This compound in early stages of development is notable for a very high potency, a long-half life and the potential for use both as HIV treatment and for HIV prevention. Oral dosing might be weekly and PrEP includes the potential for a small removable slow-release implant that would last a year.
The first study, presented as a poster, looked at the impact on viral load of a single dose of MK-8591 (30 mg, 10 mg, 2 mg, 1 mg or 0.5 mg) in 30 treatment-naive participants (n=6 for each arm), with the recommendation to start ART after 7-10 days depending on the dose.1
The study also looked at the pharmacokinetics of different doses, especially drug levels in plasma and PBMCs and the impact on plasma and intracellular half-life for potential dosing schedules.
Both plasma and intracellular drug levels were dose-related, with higher doses achieving levels approximately 1 log higher with the half-life in PBMCs ranging from 78 to 128 hours, allowing for a wide range of potential dosing schedules.
For reasons that are unclear, and against the study protocol, one participant did not begin full ART (risking drug resistance by continued monotherapy) although neither viral load nor resistance data were presented for the case.
The second study looking at potential for PrEP, presented as a late-breaker oral abstract, reported weekly oral doses of MK-8591 or placebo for three months in 16 macaques who were then exposed to rectal SIV (on day 6 of every weekly cycle) for 12 weeks.2
The results were pretty remarkable: all animals receiving the placebo became infected within 1 to 4 challenges compared to none of the MK-8591 animals, even after 12 challenges and continued follow-up for a further three months. MK-8591 resulted in a 41.5-fold lower risk of infection (95% CI: 7.3 to 237.9) compared to placebo (p< 0.0001).
Mean intracellular trough concentrations of MK-8591-TP at the time of challenge were 4.07 mM (range: 2.26-5.17) and were similar to levels achieved using a once-weekly 10 mg oral dose of 10mg in HIV positive human studies.
Taken together, these studies show that this is a compound to follow closely through the next stages of development.
[Note from TheBodyPRO.com: This article was originally published by HIV i-Base on Aug. 10, 2017. We have cross-posted it with their permission.]
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