Failure Brings Atea and Roche’s COVID-19 Pill Moonshot Down To Earth
Falls Behind Merck’s Rival
An attempt to show efficacy even in younger people with mild COVID-19 symptoms has fallen flat in Phase II, and AT-527 will now lag behind rivals Merck and Pfizer.
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Heading into the J.P. Morgan Healthcare conference, pharmas have been focusing on discovery alliances. J&J’s deals look into novel tissue-targeted drugs, ionic liquid delivery technology and cancer vaccine R&D. Lilly teams with Entos on novel methods for delivering neurology drugs.
Roche has bowed out of the race to develop an oral COVID-19 therapy, leaving a lucrative but likely short-lived market for its rivals.
The foundation is donating to help supply Merck/Ridgeback’s antiviral to low-income nations; also Pfizer got one step closer to full approval for booster shots of Comirnaty, while the FDA authorized Moderna and J&J boosters, and Daiichi Sankyo made progress on its own mRNA vaccine candidate. Shionogi's once-daily oral antiviral is also moving forward.