Atea dives after COVID-19 treatment failed to help patients in study – .

Atea dives after COVID-19 treatment failed to help patients in study – .

The word “COVID-19” is reflected in a drop on a syringe needle in this illustration taken on November 9, 2020. REUTERS / Dado Ruvic / Illustration

October 19 (Reuters) – Atea Pharmaceuticals Inc’s (AVIR.O) investigational COVID-19 antiviral pill, developed with Roche (ROG.S), failed to help patients with mild and moderate COVID-19 in a small study of at-risk patients, dropping the shares of the US drug maker by more than 70% on Tuesday.

As a result, the company said it will not provide data from a larger, late-stage study as planned this quarter and instead plans to modify that trial with a possible data reading delayed until the second half of 2022.

The new Atea and Roche places far behind US-based Merck & Co Inc (MRK.N) in the race for a pill to treat COVID-19.

Merck applied for emergency use authorization in the United States for its drug last week after it was shown to reduce hospitalization and death rate by 50% in a patient trial mild to moderately ill who had at least one risk factor for the disease.

Pfizer Inc (PFE.N) is due to release data for its antiviral as early as this quarter.

Atea shares fell 70.9% to $ 11.78 in pre-market trading, while Roche shares fell 3%. Merck shares rose 3% to $ 79.60 before the bell, while Pfizer shares rose nearly 1%.

Atea said the treatment did not show a clear reduction in the viral load of SARS-CoV-2 in the overall population of patients with mild or moderate COVID-19 compared to placebo in the mid-term study .

However, the viral load decreased in high-risk patients with underlying health problems.

Almost two-thirds of the patients in the study had mild symptoms with no underlying health issues, with patients vaccinated against COVID-19 being included in the overall study population, Atea said. The Merck trial did not include any vaccinated patients.

Atea said he was modifying an ongoing late-stage study testing the drug in outpatients with mild to moderate COVID-19 to include changes in the primary focus of the trial and the patient population.

Report by Mrinalika Roy and Ankur Banerjee in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber and Caroline Humer

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here