Three-way HIV combo approved in EU

Call it a trifecta. European regulators have approved Atripla, the combination HIV med that allows patients to get their entire drug cocktail in just one pill a day. The approval is another coup for the three companies that collaborated on the product--Gilead Sciences, Bristol-Myers Squibb, and Merck. Combining the existing drugs efavirenz, tenofovir and emtricitabine, Atripla will soon be available in Germany, Austria and the UK.

Approved by the FDA since July 2006, Atripla has become the most-prescribed treatment regimen for HIV patients just starting drug therapy. Sales of the drug topped $650 million during the first nine months of 2007.

Under the terms of a deal announced last week, Gilead and BMS will lead the commercialization charge in Europe. Merck granted BMS its European rights to the drug. Analysts expect worldwide sales to peak at about $4 billion.

- check out Gilead's release
- read the report from the BBC
- here's an analysis of the HIV drug market from CNN Money