Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) using antiretroviral oral drugs is effective at preventing HIV transmission when individuals adhere to the dosing regimen. Tenofovir alafenamide (TAF) is a potent antiretroviral drug, with numerous long-acting (LA) delivery systems under development to improve PrEP adherence. However, none has undergone preventive efficacy assessment. Here we show that LA TAF using a novel subcutaneous nanofluidic implant (nTAF) confers partial protection from HIV transmission. We demonstrate that sustained subcutaneous delivery through nTAF in rhesus macaques maintained tenofovir diphosphate concentration at a median of 390.00 fmol/106 peripheral blood mononuclear cells, 9 times above clinically protective levels. In a non-blinded, placebo-controlled rhesus macaque study with repeated low-dose rectal SHIVSF162P3 challenge, the nTAF cohort had a 62.50% reduction (95% CI: 1.72% to 85.69%; p=0.068) in risk of infection per exposure compared to the control. Our finding mirrors that of tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (TDF) monotherapy, where 60.00% protective efficacy was observed in macaques, and clinically, 67.00% reduction in risk with 86.00% preventive efficacy in individuals with detectable drug in the plasma. Overall, our nanofluidic technology shows potential as a subcutaneous delivery platform for long-term PrEP and provides insights for clinical implementation of LA TAF for HIV prevention.
Keywords: HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis; Nanofluidics; drug delivery; implantable devices; tenofovir alafenamide.