Covid-19 continues to befuddle Big Pharma as AbbVie axes PhI of an oral drug
In the fight against Covid-19, AbbVie’s approved products and investigational assets have run into multiple hurdles.
The latest is a Phase I axe, quietly revealed on the federal clinical trials database in recent days. The Chicago-area Big Pharma cited “re-evaluation of risk vs benefit (based on animal data)” in an update to the Phase I trial of ABBV-990. AbbVie had hoped the drug would work as a treatment for patients with SARS-CoV-2, but it appears it won’t make it past the 24-person healthy volunteer study conducted in northern Illinois.
AbbVie did not reply to emailed requests for comment.
It is unclear if the asset came from the Big Pharma’s partnership with Scripps Research’s Calibr, a drug discovery and development unit funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Endpoints News has reached out to Scripps, which announced the collaboration in March of this year.
AbbVie has made multiple attempts to find antivirals and potential treatments to ward off the worst of the pandemic but hasn’t found the right one just yet. Multiple other biopharmas have attempted creating treatments and vaccines in the global fight against the pandemic, but many have run into hurdles, largely because of the various strains that have emerged along the way.
For AbbVie specifically, the company had tried to bring forth an antibody combo — out of partner Harbour BioMed and researchers at Utrecht University and Erasmus Medical Center. But the asset doesn’t appear on AbbVie’s public pipeline after a Phase I wrapped up in 2021. The antibody still shows up on Harbour’s website, with a “global license to AbbVie” description.
The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases had also previously tried combining remdesivir with AbbVie’s Skyrizi, a human monoclonal antibody approved for plaque psoriasis.
Earlier in the pandemic, AbbVie had also donated supplies of the HIV medicine Kaletra/Aluvia (lopinavir/ritonavir), but the WHO stopped the portion of a trial testing the treatment for hospitalized patients in July 2020.