Methods: Macaque rings containing 25 mg dapivirine, 300 mg darunavir and 100 mg dapivirine, and 300 mg darunavir were manufactured and characterised by differential scanning calorimetry. In vitro release was assessed into isopropanol/water and simulated vaginal fluid. Macaque vaginal fluid and blood serum concentrations for both antiretrovirals were measured during 28-day ring use. Tissue levels were measured on day 28. Ex vivo challenge studies were performed on vaginal fluid samples and IC50 values calculated.
Results: Darunavir caused a concentration-dependent reduction in the dapivirine melting temperature in both solid drug mixes and in the combination ring. In vitro release from rings was dependent on drug loading, the number of drugs present, and the release medium. In macaques, serum concentrations of both microbicides were maintained between 101–102 pg/mL. Vaginal fluid levels ranged between 103–104 ng/g and 104–105 ng/g for dapivirine and darunavir, respectively. Tissue concentrations ranges for each drug were: vagina (1.8×103–3.8×103 ng/g) > cervix (9.4×101–3.9×102 ng/g) > uterus (0–108 ng/g) > rectum (0–40 ng/g). Measured IC50 values were > 2 ng/mL for both compounds.
Conclusions: Based on these results, and in light of recent clinical progress of the 25mg dapivirine ring, a combination vaginal ring containing dapivirine and darunavir is a viable second-generation HIV microbicide candidate.
- HIV microbicide; Silicone elastomer vaginal ring; Cynomolgus macaque; Pharmacokinetics