Roche, Atea Pharmaceuticals partner on COVID-19 oral treatment

By Jenni Spinner

- Last updated on GMT

(vladans/iStock via Getty Images Plus)
(vladans/iStock via Getty Images Plus)

Related tags Roche Antivirals Clinical trials COVID-19 Coronavirus Virus

The two companies are working together to develop AT-527, an orally administered, direct-acting antiviral therapy for patients diagnosed with COVID-19.

Roche and Atea Pharmaceuticals are collaborating toward the development, manufacture and distribution of AT-527, Atea’s investigational oral, direct-acting antiviral (DAA). The treatment, currently in Phase II trials, is intended for use in patients both hospitalized and those being treated outside of a hospital setting.

According to the companies, if approved the drug will be the first novel oral antiviral used to treat COVID-19 patients. Additionally, the treatment has the potential to be used in post-exposure, prophylactic applications.

A spokesperson with Roche told us the AT-527 holds potential as a possible solution to treat people with the virus.

“Atea’s AT-527 is a promising oral antiviral with potential for treating COVID-19, and we look forward to collaborating with Atea to investigate AT-527’s potential and to bring this potential medicine to patients as soon as possible should it prove safe and effective​,” they said.

If approval is achieved, Atea will distribute AT-527 inside the US; Roche will be responsible for global manufacturing and distribution outside the US.

AT-527, which acts by blocking the viral RNA polymerase enzyme needed for viral replication, is being studied in a Phase II trial for patients hospitalized with moderate COVID-19. A Phase III trial, anticipated to start in early 2021, will examine potential use in patients outside of the hospital setting.

"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,​" said Bill Anderson, Roche CEO.

The Roche spokesperson told Outsourcing-Pharma the company is seeking multiple opportunities and partners to help discover COVID-19 treatments, including the AT-527 partnerhsip.

This collaboration demonstrates our unwavering commitment to look at all options to help more people during this pandemic. We believe that our long-standing global development experience, our technical expertise and manufacturing capabilities as well as our global reach, combined with Atea’s potential treatment option, could have a positive impact on public health in the midst of this pandemic​,” they told us.

We are very pleased to enter into this collaboration with Atea as a first step in a journey to bring an outpatient treatment option to patients with COVID-19 as quickly as possible​,” the spokesperson added.

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