Atea-Roche plans for Covid pill hit by poor trial results




Atea-Roche plans for Covid pill hit by poor trial results


October 20, 2021

ZURICH, Switzerland (AFP) — US-based Atea Pharmaceuticals said Tuesday its plans to develop an orally administered drug to treat coronavirus patients together with Swiss pharma giant Roche have suffered a set back in clinical trials.

The drug “did not meet its primary endpoint, showing no significant reduction in viral load,” Atea said in a statement.

When compared to a placebo administered to some of the hospitalised patients in the trial “no meaningful difference was seen in other virological efficacy endpoints” during phase II testing, the statement added.

The drug, AT-527, had been touted as a potential oral treatment option for Covid patients, in particular serious cases requiring hospital care.

“We will continue to analyse the available trial data to provide a more complete picture of AT-527 in Covid-19 and will assess next steps,” Atea said.

Atea’s share price plummeted 65 percent in morning trading in New York.

“Although the primary endpoint was not met, these data advance our understanding of AT-527, antivirals and Covid-19 more broadly,” Roche said in an email to AFP.

It stressed that Roche will evaluate the next steps for the phase 2 trials that evaluate effectiveness and phase 3 trials that compare outcomes against available treatments that are currently underway.

Trial data published in June were promising for high-risk patients treated in hospital.

Several laboratories are working on an orally administered anti-viral treatment.

Last week US pharmaceutical giant Merck applied for emergency use authorisation of its oral anti-Covid drug in the United States, a major step towards finding a simple pill to treat the disease.

Merck has submitted the application for molnupiravir, which it said earlier this month was shown to reduce hospitalisations by 50 percent.

© Agence France-Presse

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