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Potential Cure Roche, Atea Pharmaceuticals to Develop Potential Oral Treatment for Covid-19

Editor: Ahlam Rais

Roche has teamed up with Atea Pharmaceuticals to jointly develop AT-527, an orally administered direct-acting antiviral currently in Phase 2 clinical trials. If approved, AT-527 will be the first novel oral antiviral to treat Covid-19 patients.

If approved, Atea will distribute AT-527 in the United States and Roche will be responsible for global manufacturing and distribution outside the United States.
If approved, Atea will distribute AT-527 in the United States and Roche will be responsible for global manufacturing and distribution outside the United States.
(Source: Deposit Photos)

Basel/Switzerland – Roche and Atea Pharmaceuticals have recently announced that they are joining forces in the fight against Covid-19 to develop, manufacture and distribute AT-527, Atea’s investigational oral direct-acting antiviral, to people around the globe. AT-527 acts by blocking the viral RNA polymerase enzyme needed for viral replication, and is currently being studied in a Phase 2 clinical trial for hospitalised patients with moderate Covid-19. A Phase 3 clinical trial, expected to start in Q1 2021, will explore the potential use in patients outside of the hospital setting. In addition, AT-527 may be developed for post-exposure prophylactic settings.

AT-527, while being a potential oral treatment option for hospitalised patients, also holds the potential to be the first oral treatment option for Covid-19 patients that are not hospitalised. Additionally, the manufacturing process of small-molecule DAAs allows the ability to produce large quantities of a much needed treatment. If successful, AT-527 could help treat patients early, reduce the progression of the infection, and contribute to decreasing the overall burden on health systems.

The collaboration aims to accelerate the clinical development and manufacturing of AT-527, to investigate its safety and efficacy, and to provide this potential treatment option to patients around the world as quickly as possible. If AT-527 proves safe and effective in clinical trials and regulatory approvals are granted, Atea will be responsible for distributing this treatment option in the U.S, with the option to request Genentech’s support, and Roche will be responsible for distribution outside the United States.

"The ongoing complexities of Covid-19 require multiple lines of defence. By joining forces with Atea, we hope to offer an additional treatment option for hospitalised and non-hospitalised Covid-19 patients, and to ease the burden on hospitals during a global pandemic," said Bill Anderson, Chief Executive Officer of Roche Pharmaceuticals. "In jointly developing and manufacturing AT-527 at scale, we seek to make this treatment option available to as many people around the world as we possibly can."

“Roche shares our passion for delivering innovative new medicines to address great unmet medical needs. The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the urgent need for a novel, oral antiviral to treat this highly infectious and often deadly virus,” said Jean-Pierre Sommadossi, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer and Founder of Atea Pharmaceuticals. “AT-527 is expected to be ideally suited to combat Covid-19 as it inhibits viral replication by interfering with viral RNA polymerase, a key component in the replication machinery of RNA viruses. Importantly, the manufacturing process for our small molecule direct-acting antiviral allows us to produce AT-527 quickly and at scale.”

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