Atea Pharmaceuticals and Roche end joint development of COVID-19 pill

Atea Pharmaceuticals (NSDQ:AVIR) has announced the termination of a joint venture with Roche involving the development of the COVID-19 antiviral AT-527.

In October, the two companies revealed that the Phase 2 MOONSONG trial focusing on AT-527 did not meet its primary endpoint.

Atea will retain rights to AT-527 after the strategic collaboration with Roche ends on February 10, 2022.

“We believe strongly in the potential of AT-527 with its unique dual mechanism of action, antiviral activity against the major variants of concern and its market potential given the need for additional therapeutic options for COVID-19,” said Jean-Pierre Sommadossi, CEO of Atea Pharmaceuticals, in a press release.

AVIR shares dropped 11.36% in after-hours trading. The shares are down 72.57% so far this year.


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Roche and Atea’s COVID-19 pill disappoints in Phase 2 trial 

Interest in oral antivirals has surged in recent weeks. Merck (NYSE:MRK) announced on October 1 that the investigational antiviral molnupiravir appeared to halve the risk of hospitalization from COVID-19.

Roche (SWX:ROG) and Atea (NSDQ:AVIR) are having less luck with the oral, direct-acting antiviral drug candidate AT-527.

The two companies announced that the Phase 2 MOONSONG trial failed to meet its primary endpoint related to reducing the level of SARS-CoV-2 in patients with mild-to-moderate COVID-19 relative to placebo.

The drug appeared to be more effective in high-risk patients with underlying health conditions.

Roche and Atea are mulling whether they can modify the international Phase 3 MORNINGSKY study to increase the risk of achieving a statistically significant benefit. The companies expect data from that trial in the second half of 2022.

Both companies saw their stock price decline in the aftermath of the announcement. AVIR shares…

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