Florida State University has announced a $4.4 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in support of research aimed at dramatically reducing the cost of Nevirapine, a popular HIV/AIDS medication.
The university will receive $3 million in the first year of the grant to partner with Virginia Commonwealth University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the University of Washington on different facets of the project. It is hoped that by eventually reducing the cost of Nevirapine — a drug recommended by the World Health Organization to treat AIDS/HIV — treatment will become more widely available in developing countries.
Tyler McQuade, professor of chemistry at Florida State, and Ashley Longstreet, a doctoral student, have already identified a viable method to reduce the cost of the drug and will lead the effort to find ways to synthesize chemical reactions so the drug can be manufactured more cheaply. A team from MIT also will work on that element, while the University of Washington team will focus on quality control and VCU researchers will look at producing mass quantities of the drug using the new process.
"The objective of this effort is to identify a manufacturing route leading to Nevirapine that utilizes the lowest-cost raw materials and ultra-efficient manufacturing tools," said Frank Gupton, a research professor at VCU. "We anticipate that this approach will not only lead to a new manufacturing process paradigm that will reduce the cost per kilogram of Nevirapine, but may also be applied to other important drug targets as well."