ViiV Healthcare has kicked off two late stage studies assessing a potential new regimen for the treatment of HIV-1 infection.

The group, which is majority owned by GlaxoSmithKline, is investigating a long-acting, injectable regimen being co-developed with Janssen Sciences Ireland comprised of its cabotegravir and the latter's rilpivirine (branded Edurant) in two Phase III trials.

FLAIR (First Long-Acting Injectable Regimen) and ATLAS (Antiretroviral Therapy as Long-Acting Suppression) are geared up to assess safety and efficacy of monthly dosing in both treatment-naïve and treatment-experienced patients.

If successful, the regimen would offer an alternative option to the standard oral daily, three-drug therapy.

Adherence to therapy remains crucial to achieving viral suppression and reducing the emergence of resistance mutations, "so it is important that new HIV treatment modalities, such as long-acting, injectable therapies, are investigated, as they may improve adherence and patient outcomes," ViiV noted.

"Currently the treatment of HIV involves life-long therapy with multiple antiretrovirals, so it is important that we continue to improve on the durability, safety, tolerability, and convenience of treatment regimens," added John C Pottage, Jr, MD, Chief Scientific and Medical Officer, ViiV Healthcare.

Results from the ATLAS and FLAIR studies are expected sometime in 2018.