J&J gets nod for broader use of HIV med

Johnson & Johnson scored a big expansion in use for its HIV drug Prezista. The FDA gave the nod for the drug to be used to treat patients who've never used any other anti-HIV meds. Prezista, taken once a day, can now be prescribed as part of a multidrug cocktail to combat the virus; the recommended combo is Prezista plus the older HIV med ritonavir.

Until now, Prezista has been approved only for patients who'd failed to respond to other HIV drugs. A protease inhibitior, Prezista is one of about a dozen options in its class. "This decision is a significant expansion of our ability to reach the entire population of patients who should be treated with a protease inhibitor," said Glenn Mattes, president of the J&J unit Tibotec Therapeutics.

The expanded use was partly based on a study showing that 87 percent of Prezista patients saw their HIV levels drop to "undetectable," compared with 78 percent of patients using the Abbott Laboratories competitor Kaletra. That difference, however, was not deemed statistically significant.

- read the Forbes article