Jean-Pierre Sommadossi, Atea CEO

Roche-Atea’s Covid-19 pill fails mid-stage tri­al, cloud­ing fu­ture for close­ly watched pro­gram

When Mer­ck an­nounced this month that its Covid-19 pill cut new­ly di­ag­nosed pa­tients’ risk of be­ing hos­pi­tal­ized by 50%, re­searchers and an­a­lysts hoped that oth­er pills would soon prove sim­i­lar­ly ef­fec­tive. They paid par­tic­u­lar at­ten­tion to two drugs from Pfiz­er and Roche.

But on Tues­day, Roche and its biotech part­ner, Atea, an­nounced that their an­tivi­ral had failed a key in­ter­im test.

In a Phase II tri­al, AT-527 didn’t re­duce the amount of virus in mild to mod­er­ate Covid-19 pa­tients any more than a place­bo pill did. That was true for both the pa­tients who re­ceived a high dose and those who re­ceived the low dose.

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