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Atea Partnership Broken by Roche to Contribute in Covid-19 Pill Press "Enter" to skip to content

Atea Partnership Broken by Roche to Contribute in Covid-19 Pill

Roche Holding AG announced on Tuesday that its collaboration with Atea Pharmaceuticals Inc to develop a COVID-19 antiviral tablet had ended a month after the medicine failed to treat patients in a small trial. As a result, Atea’s stock dropped 11% to $10.08 in extended trade, increasing its year-to-date decline of 72 percent. Many businesses are rushing to create an oral pill that can be used as early at-home treatment to help prevent COVID-19 hospitalizations and fatalities, making it a viable new weapon in the pandemic’s fight.

Following promising evidence, the US Food and Drug Administration is reviewing pills from Merck & Co Inc and Pfizer Inc. Last year, Roche and Atea partnered to develop AT-527, an oral medication for which Atea received a $350 million upfront payment.

In mid-stage research published in October, however, the treatment did not reveal an apparent reduction in viral load in the entire group of individuals with mild or moderate COVID-19. As a result, Roche announced on Tuesday that it would concentrate on its other COVID-19 drugs, such as the antibody cocktail Ronapreve, which was developed in collaboration with Regeneron and the arthritis treatment Actemra.

After the agreement expires in February, the rights and licenses to AT-527 would go to Atea, which stated it will continue to research the medication and expect data from a late-stage trial in the second half of 2022. Atea said it had the financial resources to move the late-stage problem forward on its own. As of September 30, the business had $839.7 million in cash and cash equivalents.

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