Atea abandons dengue drug

March 1, 2023

Atea Pharmaceuticals will deprioritize tits dengue program to focus on COVID-19 and Hepatitis C, for business reasons.

In it's recent financial update, the Boston-based biopharma's CEO Jean-Pierre Sommadossi shared the news, saying that the dengue clinical program would require improved diagnostics to identify patients earlier, as well as a larger patient sample size. In order to avoid  the "anticipated long clinical timelines and significant associated cost" that this would  incur, the company will walk away from the program.

Atea has been developing an oral antiviral therapeutic, AT-752, for the treatment of dengue. The proof-of-concept, DEFEND-2 trial demonstrated that AT-752 led to a faster resolution of fever, however it also brought to light the issues identified by Atea's CEO.

Instead, Atea will focus on its lead compound, bemnifosbuvir, being tested in COVID and Hepatitis C. The company anticipates  an interim analysis from the phase 3 SUNRISE-3 trial for COVID followed by completion of targeted enrollment by year end. Atea was originally jointly developing the antiviral with Roche Holding, but Roche walked on the deal in 2021, a month after the drug failed in a mid-stage study.

Atea also plans to initiate patient enrollment in the phase 2 combination study of bemnifosbuvir and ruzasvir for Hepatitis C next quarter, with topline results expected by the end of the year.