The prevention of HIV infection is a critical global health priority. In contrast to daily therapies, long-acting (sustained release) approaches to drug delivery have special appeal for use in the developing world: they are less expensive on a per day basis, they require less infrastructure to provide to the community, and they are more effective.
Drug delivery systems based on intravaginal ring (IVR) devices are female-controlled strategies that allow women to protect themselves from HIV and other infections, as well as unintended pregnancy. We have pioneered an innovative IVR platform for simultaneous release of multiple drugs. Each drug is released from one or more separate “pods” within the ring, with the release rate from each pod controlled independently through both the pod structure and the materials properties of the pod components. Oak Crest is actively developing IVRs for a number of infectious diseases, including HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis as well as multipurpose prevention technologies (MPTs) for the prevention of HSV and pregnancy. An IVR for prevention of HIV transmission is currently in a pre-phase I clinical trial.
Implantable devices for systemic administration of agents with linear release kinetics show promise for a number of developing world applications, including HIV prevention. We have developed a novel subdermal implant that could confer protection from HIV infection for up to a year.