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Access Expanded for HIV Drug

The program involves the Pfizer drug maraviroc.



said it will expand access to an investigational HIV treatment for patients with few available options.

The Pfizer drug, maraviroc, is currently being studied in late-stage trials involving HIV and AIDS patients who might not be able to tolerate another treatment or those with a particular strain of the virus that beats back existing drugs.

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Maraviroc belongs to a group of drugs called CCR5 antagonists, which work differently from current medications. While other drugs fight HIV in white blood cells, this new class of drugs prevent the virus from entering cells altogether.

Patients could start receiving the drug under the plan within the next few months, Pfizer says.

"People living with HIV whose virus is resistant to available therapies have an urgent need for novel medicines," said John LaMattina, Pfizer's president of global research and development. "It is our hope that maraviroc, now in final stages of clinical development, may help those patients who have exhausted treatment options and are not already participating in our clinical studies."

The company also confirmed its plans to apply for the drug's marketing approval in both the U.S. and Europe following a review of late-stage trial data.

Shares of Pfizer were up 13 cents to $27.62.