Myriad Pharmaceuticals Inc.'s experimental HIV drug, bevirimat dimeglumine, can reduce viral load by as much as 50-fold in two weeks in some patients, according to a new study reported by Bloomberg. Researchers presented their findings September 14 at the 49th Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy (ICAAC) in San Francisco.

Bevirimat is in a new class of HIV drugs called maturation inhibitors, which prevent the virus from growing into a form capable of infecting other healthy cells. During the study, 32 Australian men took one of two doses of bevirimat two times a day for two weeks.

Among the 26 patients who were new to HIV treatment and received the highest dose of the drug, viral load declined an average of more than 20-fold and as much as 50-fold. Overall, the drug reduced the virus 6-fold on average.

In July, Myriad said it next planned to begin a 24-week study of the drug this year.