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Ridgeback Biotherapeutics and Emory University’s not-for-profit Drug Innovations at Emory (DRIVE) have partnered to develop a drug candidate for potential treatment of Covid-19.

The partners aim to progress DRIVE’s EIDD-2801 into human clinical trials.

EIDD-2801 is an orally bioavailable version of a ribonucleoside analogue that blocks the replication of various RNA viruses such as SARS-CoV2.

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Under the alliance, Ridgeback obtained an exclusive licence for EIDD-2801 and will advance the candidate through clinical development to make it available for the ongoing pandemic.

DRIVE CEO George Painter said: “With EIDD-2801 close to entering clinical trials for influenza and its activity against the SARS and MERS coronaviruses, we immediately recognised that EIDD-2801 had the potential for treating Covid-19. Based on our extensive testing, we believe EIDD-2801 will be effective in treating individuals that have been sickened by Covid-19.

“Given Ridgeback Biotherapeutics’ experience in accelerating the development of potential therapeutics in outbreak settings and its proven commitment to global health, we are confident that Ridgeback can quickly advance EIDD-2801 into clinical trials for Covid-19 and initiate steps toward ensuring a rapid development path for this promising drug.”

EIDD-2801’s has been wholly or partially funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) to treat coronavirus, influenza, chikungunya and Venezuelan Equine Encephalitis Virus.