Gilead Sciences announced April 27 that a combination pill containing rilpivirine (TMC278) and Truvada (tenofovir plus emtricitabine) achieves the same blood levels of both drugs as when the medications are dosed separately and will move forward for development.

Rilpivirine is an experimental non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI) being developed by Tibotec Pharmaceuticals. Just last week, Tibotec and Gilead announced that the combination of rilpivirine and Truvada was comparable to Atripla (efavirenz plus tenofovir and emtricitabine) in two Phase III studies. Tibotec said it would apply for U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval of rilpivirine this summer.

Gilead and Tibotec are working on a deal to codevelop the fixed-dose combination of rilpivirine and Truvada and plan to file for FDA approval in the fall. If the combination pill is approved, it would become the first complete all-in-one pill HIV regimen since the release of Atripla in 2006.