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You are here: Health Medicine Treating a Forgotten Disease
In 1987, when the drug AZT was first approved for HIV treatment, the medical community hailed it as a breakthrough—the beginning of the end of HIV/AIDS as a death sentence. AZT certainly was a major advance in treatment, particularly when combined with other oral agents in a cocktail which prevented the virus from mutating into resistant forms. However, HIV patients still struggle with AZT's side effects today, and are challenged by its rigorous twice-daily regimen. Resistance has developed as well.

“I've ...had conversations with people who actually believe new treatments for HIV... are no longer fundable. They claim they cannot do real funding for a truly novel approach to HIV because people are comfortable taking a cocktail of oral therapies…but that is such a narrow view of the actual panorama,” said Conrad Mir, Chairman/CEO of Genetic Immunity. “It is a complete misnomer that HIV is no longer a problem. It is an ongoing problem. It's still here.”

Mir joined Genetic Immunity when he became excited by the potential of their lead product, DermaVir, an HIV immunotherapy treatment. This innovative agent utilizes the body’s own immune system to kill HIV-infected cells, unlike oral treatments which merely slow their production. DermaVir is applied just once every 90 days for three hours. “This represents a paradigm shift in treatment! Today, when patients become infected with HIV, they will be on oral anti-retroviral therapy for the rest of their lives. Adherence will always be an issue,” Mir said. “So, I think going from every day forever to once every 90 days with a patch for only three hours, is a pretty good tradeoff.”

DermaVir is not an oral therapy…rather it uses a unique transdermal delivery system called the DermaPrep medical device. DermaPrep is based on Genetic Immunity’s proprietary nanomedicine technology platform which can easily be adapted for topical use with other drugs. DermaPrep is a skin patch that delivers over 90% of the medication directly into the body, at a far higher delivery rate than standard medications. The patch delivers the drug to dendritic cells of the lymph nodes via Langerhans cells. This, in turn, utilizes and boosts the patient’s immune system to attack the HIV virus.

Genetic Immunity (www.geneticimmunity.com) is currently a privately held company, headquartered in the US and research and development laboratories in Hungary. It has already obtained marketing approval in Europe for the DermaPrep medical device.

Mir plans to partner with other pharmaceutical companies by selling them the DermaPrep medical device, which these companies can then use to topically administer their own drugs. “So not only are our peers our competitors, but they can also be potential customers. They can buy DermaPrep from us and suddenly improve the thru-put of their actual drug,” he said.

Mir hopes to take Genetic Immunity public in the US, and is planning a U.S.-listing in the very near future.

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