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.
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.