Switzerland’s Roche says that the European Union has granted marketing approval for a 500mg formulation of the firm’s HIV protease inhibitor Invirase (saquinavir mesylate).

The new tablet has been approved for use in combination with 100mg of Abbott’s Norvir (ritonavir) and will simplify the dosing regimen for patients by reducing the daily tablet count from five tablets twice-daily to two twice-daily.

The company noted that Invirase offers a number of key advantages over Fortovase (saquinavir), notably in terms of tolerance, and this is the principal reason for Roche’s decision to voluntarily withdraw Fortovase from the market in the first quarter of 2006 [[19/05/05a]].

Dr Anton Pozniak, consultant physician and senior lecturer at the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in London said that the reduced pill burden offered by the Invirase 500mg tablet, which was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration in December last year, “will make boosted Invirase a much more attractive treatment option for patients and will encourage its use in early as well as advanced stages of HIV disease.”