Georgia biotechnology company Inhibitex has licensed a series of HIV integrase inhibitors discovered by Vasu Nair, Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar in Drug Discovery at the University of Georgia. Integrase inhibitors are an emerging class of anti-retroviral agents that block the insertion of viral DNA into the genome of the host cell, thereby stopping the virus from replicating. It inhibits a different molecular target than currently marketed HIV drugs. Preclinical studies have indicated that these drug candidates may potentially be used to treat patients with resistant strains of HIV.
Inhibitex plans to select a lead candidate from this program and initiate IND-enabling studies in the first half of 2008. No further financial details of the licensing has been disclosed.