Long-acting antiretroviral agents for preexposure prophylaxis (PrEP) represent a promising new alternative to daily oral regimens for HIV prevention. Lenacapavir (LEN) is a first-in-class long-acting capsid inhibitor approved for the treatment of HIV-1 infection. Here, we assessed the efficacy of LEN for PrEP using a single high-dose simian-human immunodeficiency virus (SHIV) rectal challenge macaque model. In vitro, LEN showed potent antiviral activity against SHIV, as it did for HIV-1. In macaques, a single subcutaneous administration of LEN demonstrated dose proportional increases in and durability of drug plasma levels. A high-dose SHIV inoculum for the PrEP efficacy evaluation was identified via virus titration in untreated macaques. LEN-treated macaques were challenged with high-dose SHIV 7 weeks after drug administration, and the majority remained protected from infection, as confirmed by plasma PCR, cell-associated proviral DNA, and serology testing. Complete protection and superiority to the untreated group was observed among animals whose LEN plasma exposure exceeded its model-adjusted clinical efficacy target at the time of challenge. All infected animals had subprotective LEN concentrations and showed no emergent resistance. These data demonstrate effective SHIV prophylaxis in a stringent macaque model at clinically relevant LEN exposures and support the clinical evaluation of LEN for HIV PrEP in humans.
Elena Bekerman, Stephen R. Yant, Laurie VanderVeen, Derek Hansen, Bing Lu, William Rowe, Kelly Wang, Christian Callebaut