On October 22, 2020, Boston-based Atea Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (“Atea”) announced an agreement with Roche for the exclusive rights to research, develop and distribute AT-527 as an oral antiviral treatment for COVID-19 in territories outside of the United States. Under the terms of the agreement, Atea received an upfront payment of $350 million in cash from Roche with the potential for future milestone payments and royalties.

AT-527 is an orally administered, direct-acting antiviral agent derived from Atea’s purine nucleotide prodrug platform. At-527 is currently under evaluation as a treatment for patients with COVID-19. AT-527 is designed to inhibit viral replication by interfering with viral RNA polymerase, a key component in the replication machinery of RNA viruses, such as positive single-stranded human flaviviruses and human coronaviruses. AT-527 is currently in a global Phase 2 clinical study for hospitalized patients with moderate COVID-19 and has plans to initiate a global, registrational Phase 3 clinical trial in outpatients in the first half of 2021. Additionally, Atea is planning to study in a Phase 3 clinical trial the use of AT-527 in the post-exposure prophylaxis setting.

Roche Pharmaceuticals CEO Bill Anderson said that “the ongoing complexities of COVID-19 require multiple lines of defense. By joining forces with Atea, we hope to offer an additional treatment option for hospitalized and non-hospitalized COVID-19 patients, and to ease the burden on hospitals during a global pandemic.”

Atea, founded in 2014, is a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company focused on discovering, developing and commercializing antiviral therapeutics to improve the lives of patients suffering from life-threatening viral infections.  Atea was co-founded and is led by CEO and chairman Dr. Jean-Pierre Sommadossi, principal founder of Idenix Pharmaceuticals Inc. and a co-founder of Pharmasset Inc.  On October 30, 2020, Atea raised an additional $300 million in an initial public offering.

“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. “This collaboration with Roche enhances Atea’s efforts and underscores the potential for AT-527 to effectively address the COVID-19 crisis on a global scale. 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.”

Related articles: Atea PharmaceuticalsRoche

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Aydin Harston combines his love for science and technology with legal expertise to advocate for his clients in all matters necessary to grow, protect, and defend their businesses.  With a Ph.D. in biochemistry and numerous scientific and legal publications, Aydin seeks to produce…

Aydin Harston combines his love for science and technology with legal expertise to advocate for his clients in all matters necessary to grow, protect, and defend their businesses.  With a Ph.D. in biochemistry and numerous scientific and legal publications, Aydin seeks to produce creative and effective  approaches to achieve his clients’ goals as efficiently as possible.