ViiV Healthcare, a joint venture of GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE: GSK) and two other drugmakers, plans to license pediatric versions of its HIV drug abacavir to a patent-sharing body backed by the United Nations to improve children’s access to treatment and lower costs.

ViiV will grant the voluntary license to the Medicines Patent Pool for the drug in the 118 countries where 99 percent of children with HIV live.

Under similar programs, ViiV works with generics companies to manufacture and sell low-cost versions of its medicines in what the company calls “least developed countries.”

About 3.4 million children have HIV worldwide, and 72 percent of those in need of treatment don’t have access to appropriate care because of a lack of affordable medicines, according to ViiV. ViiV and other drugmakers including Gilead Sciences also work with generic licensing partners in countries like India and South Africa to produce low-cost version of HIV therapies to sell in developing countries.

“This agreement with the Medicines Patent Pool builds on the existing 13 licences granted to our generics partners and the broad range of initiatives supported through our Paediatric Innovation Seed Fund which aim to improve paediatric HIV research, care and treatment in resource-limited settings. The overarching goal of our efforts is to improve the lives of children living with HIV, and to help make ViiV Healthcare’s medicines available to them,” Chief Executive Officer Dominique Limet said.

ViiV is Glaxo’s joint venture with New York-based Pfizer Inc. and Japan’s Shionogi & Co.

(Bloomberg news contributed to this report.)