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Bristol-Myers Squibb Company (BMY - Analyst Report) presented encouraging data on its HIV candidate BMS-663068 (an attachment inhibitor) at the 21st conference on retroviruses and opportunistic Infections. The phase IIb study (n=254) evaluated the candidate in treatment experienced HIV-1 infected adults across four doses - (400 mg (twice daily); 800 mg (twice daily); 600 mg (once daily); 1200 mg (once a day)).

Data from the 24 week study revealed that BMS-663068 was as effective as the biopharma major’s established HIV treatment Reyataz (boosted with AbbVie Inc.’s (ABBV - Analyst Report) Norvir) in controlling the dreaded virus. Bristol-Myers said that treatment with BMS-663068 reduced the level of the virus to undetectable levels in 69%–80% patients, while Norvir boosted Reyataz therapy achieved similar results in 75% patients. Moreover, the candidate was found to be well tolerated in the study. No patient opted out of the study due to adverse events.

The positive results from the study are highly encouraging as successful development and subsequent commercialization of the candidate would enlarge the treatment options for HIV patients who have failed other therapies. In the event of the candidate entering the market, Bristol-Myers’ top line would be boosted as the HIV market is lucrative. Bristol-Myers is also developing Reyataz and Gilead Sciences’ (GILD - Analyst Report) cobicistat as a fixed dose combination to treat HIV patients.

According to the company, HIV affects 34 million people across the globe. Apart from Bristol-Myers, many other companies such as Merck & Co. (MRK - Analyst Report) are developing candidates to treat HIV.

Bristol-Myers carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). A better-ranked stock in the biopharma space is Gilead Sciences which carries a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

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