Atea Pharmaceuticals has announced new Phase I in vitro and in vivo results demonstrating the favourable profile attributes of bemnifosbuvir to treat Covid-19 and hepatitis C (HCV).

Data from the Phase I human absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion (ADME) study of the company’s lead drug candidate bemnifosbuvir presented a favourable ADME profile that supported the dosing regimen used in the SUNRISE-3 Phase III global, multicentre registrational trial to treat Covid-19 patients.

In vitro metabolism and transporter interaction trials showed that bemnifosbuvir has a low risk for interactions with medicines that are commonly prescribed to Covid-19 patients at risk for progression, and for those with HCV infection.

Additionally, in vitro studies showed advantages of the drug candidate’s mechanism of action that targets conserved regions of the viruses that cause Covid-19 and HCV.

The advantages include a higher barrier to resistance and maintenance of antiviral activity in the presence of different Covid-19 variants.

The combination of bemnifosbuvir and ruzasvir to treat HCV demonstrated potent in vitro synergistic antiviral activity and in vivo preclinical safety, and no adverse interactions were reported.

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Atea Pharmaceuticals CEO and founder Jean-Pierre Sommadossi said: “As we continue to advance late-stage development of bemnifosbuvir, these data demonstrate that our lead compound has the potential to improve the current standard of care and address key unmet needs and limitations for patients with Covid-19 and HCV.

“These data support a favourable safety and drug interaction profile of bemnifosbuvir to treat these conditions and to provide vulnerable patients with another therapeutic option.”

The investigational, oral, direct-acting antiviral bemnifosbuvir is being evaluated in the SUNRISE-3 trial to treat Covid-19 in non-hospitalised patients at high risk for disease progression.