Glaxo’s, Pfizer’s ViiV Licenses HIV Drug for Kids to Patent Pool

ViiV Healthcare Ltd., a joint venture of GlaxoSmithKline Plc and two other drugmakers, plans to license pediatric versions of its HIV drug abacavir to a patent-sharing body backed by the United Nations to improve children’s access to treatment.

ViiV will grant the voluntary license to the Medicines Patent Pool for the drug in the 118 countries where 99 percent of children with HIV live, it said in a statement today.

About 3.4 million children have HIV worldwide, and 72 percent of those in need of treatment don’t have access to appropriate care because of a lack of affordable medicines, according to ViiV. ViiV and other drugmakers including Gilead Sciences Inc. also work with generic licensing partners in countries like India and South Africa to produce low-cost version of HIV therapies to sell in developing countries.

“This agreement with the Medicines Patent Pool builds on the existing 13 licenses granted to our generics partners,” Chief Executive Officer Dominique Limet said in a statement. “The overarching goal of our efforts is to improve the lives of children living with HIV.”

ViiV is Glaxo’s joint venture with New York-based Pfizer Inc. and Japan’s Shionogi & Co.