Atea receives $215m funding and FDA approval to start Phase II Covid-19 trial

Allie Nawrat 20 May 2020 (Last Updated May 20th, 2020 17:19)

The US Food and Drug Administration has approved Boston-based Atea Pharmaceuticals' investigational new drug application for AT-527, meaning this drug can be entered into a Phase II study for moderate Covid-19 patients with at least one risk factor.

AT-527 is a direct-acting anti-viral (DAA) drug designed to inhibit the RNA polymerase enzyme. It has been shown to be effective in coronaviruses and flaviviruses in vitro and in vivo models previously, and has already been studied in a Phase II study of hepatitis C patients.

In addition, Atea announced it has closed a $215m Series D round, which was led Bain Capital Life Sciences. Other new investors who participated in the round include Omega Funds, Rock Springs Capital and RA Capital Management. Existing investors, such as Cormorant Asset Management and Ally Bridge Group, also took part in the latest funding round.

Atea founder, chairman and CEO Jean-Pierre Sommadossi commented: “We are delighted to have the strong support of this group of blue-chip healthcare investors.

“Atea’s portfolio is focused on developing novel, best-in-class, potent DAA’s and we have shifted all of our immediate resources and our team’s deep expertise in virology and pharmacology to help address the unmet needs in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.

"An oral treatment for Covid-19 patients should prevent progression of the disease and may help lessen the burden on critical inpatient resources.

"Atea is moving rapidly, in concert with regulatory authorities, to determine if our oral DAA is a safe and effective therapeutic against COVID-19.”