The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a leading global public research university with significant expertise in HIV basic and clinical research, and GSK, a global, research-based pharmaceutical and health-care company with a legacy of success in developing treatments for HIV, announced on May 11 the establishment of a dedicated HIV Cure Center and a jointly owned new company that will focus on discovering a cure for HIV/AIDS.
The unique public-private partnership will redefine traditional ways of conducting research and develop a new model to seek breakthroughs necessary to tackle an extraordinarily challenging global health issue.
Dr. David Margolis, professor of epidemiology at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health and renowned HIV/AIDS researcher, will serve as scientific director of the HIV Cure center. Dr. Margolis, a member of the UNC faculty since 2005, also holds professorships in the UNC School of Medicine, in internal medicine and in microbiology and immunology. He is leader of the Collaboratory of AIDS researchers for Eradication, a new vision for HIV/AIDS research that aims to pursue a comprehensive collaborative search for approaches to eradicate HIV.
The HIV Cure Center will be located on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus and will focus exclusively on finding a cure for HIV/AIDS. The new company, Qura Therapeutics, will manage the business side of the partnership, including intellectual property, commercialization, manufacturing and governance.
Together, the HIV Cure Center and Qura Therapeutics will serve as a catalyst for additional partners and public funding that likely will be needed to eradicate HIV worldwide. The collaboration also is expected to recruit and attract top talent from around the world.
“The excitement of this public-private partnership lies in its vast potential,” said UNC-Chapel Hill chancellor, Dr. Carol L. Folt. “Carolina has been at the forefront of HIV/AIDS research for the last 30 years. This first of its kind, joint-ownership model is a novel approach toward finding a cure, and we hope it serves as an invitation to the world’s best researchers and scientists. Today, Carolina’s best are taking another major step in the global fight against HIV/AIDS.”