Swiss pharmaceutical giant Roche has signed a $ 350 million deal with Boston-based Atea Pharmaceuticals for the exclusive right to research, develop and distribute a potential treatment for Covid-19 outside of the United States, Atea said Thursday. The oral antiviral is currently in phase 2 clinical trials and there are plans to study it as a way to prevent infection with Covid-19.
A Covid-19 vaccine is still months away from approval and even further from mass distribution. Until then, and possibly thereafter, it will be vitally important to have effective treatments for Covid-19 in order to save lives as the pandemic continues. Few drugs have been approved for this purpose. Last week, one of the most promising, remdesivir, was proven ineffective by the WHO. With this agreement, Roche is clearly optimistic about the potential of AT-527 in this category.