By Valerie Tucker Gilead Sciences, Inc. and the Gladstone Institute of Virology and Immunology (GIVI) today, January 10, announced a multiyear research collaboration focusing on the HIV Vif protein. Vif promotes destruction of a potent host antiviral factor that is critical for the effective growth and spread of the virus in infected patients. Gilead will collaborate with the laboratory of GIVI Director Warner C. Greene, MD, PhD, in these studies. Groundbreaking work in Greene's lab revealed that Vif interferes with the potent antiviral function of a naturally occurring cellular factor - APOBEC3G (A3G) - which, if incorporated into budding HIV virions, causes lethal mutations in the virus that block its ability to grow in the next cell. Under the agreement, Gilead will provide undisclosed research support as well as downstream royalty payments and milestone fees on inhibitors of Vif action resulting from the collaboration. "If we are able to successfully target Vif, we can re-enable the potent antiviral activity of APOBEC3G. Such agents would represent an entirely new class of HIV antiviral drugs," Greene said. "We are looking forward to a stimulating and productive collaboration with Gilead, which has been a leader in HIV drug development." "Gilead is very enthusiastic about our partnership with the Gladstone Institute of Virology and Immunology and Dr. Greene to investigate a novel mechanism of targeting HIV disease," commented William Lee, PhD, senior vice president of research at Gilead Sciences. "Although much progress has been made in the treatment of HIV and AIDS, ongoing research is necessary to ensure a next generation of medications to combat the virus." The J. David Gladstone Institutes, an independent, nonprofit biomedical research organization affiliated with the University of California, San Francisco, is dedicated to the health and welfare of humankind through research into the causes and prevention of some of the world's most devastating diseases. Gladstone comprises the Gladstone Institute of Cardiovascular Disease, the Gladstone Institute of Virology and Immunology, and the Gladstone Institute of Neurological Disease. More information can be found here.