Merck, Ridgeback Bio partner on COVID-19 antiviral

By The Science Advisory Board staff writers

May 26, 2020 -- Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics announced that they have entered a collaboration to develop EIDD-2801, an orally available antiviral candidate in early clinical development for treatment of patients with COVID-19.

EIDD-2801 is an investigational, orally available ribonucleotide analog that inhibits the replication of RNA viruses, including SARS-CoV-2. In animal studies, EIDD-2801 has been shown to improve lung function and reduce viral load. The antiviral candidate was invented at Drug Innovations at Emory (DRIVE), a not-for-profit biotechnology company wholly owned by Emory University.

Under the agreement, Merck will gain exclusive worldwide rights to develop and commercialize EIDD-2801 and related molecules. Ridgeback Bio will receive an undisclosed upfront payment with the potential for specified milestone payments. Merck will be responsible for clinical development, regulatory filings, and manufacturing.

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