An inside look at Pardes Biosciences’ oral coronavirus protease inhibitor

Two months after exiting stealth mode via a SPAC merger, the early-stage biopharma Pardes Biosciences (Palo Alto, California) has launched a first-in-human trial for its investigational COVID-19 pill PBI-0451.

The origins of the company stretch back to the early days of the pandemic, said Dr. Uri Lopatin, CEO and co-founder of the company.

A visiting partner at the startup accelerator Y Combinator, Lopatin discussed the novel coronavirus with Lee Arnold, a Ph.D. chemist and former chief scientific officer of Assembly Biosciences, which Lopatin had also co-founded.

Lee remarked that the novel coronavirus bore a resemblance to SARS and MERS.

In particular, the SARS-CoV-2 main protease resembled those from other beta coronaviruses, which is one of four groupings of such spike-crowned viruses.

Standing on the shoulders of giants

Lee recalled that scientists had worked diligently on protease inhibitors targeting SARS and MERS. That work was now …

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