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Pardes Biosciences, backed by Gilead and Foresite, goes public to advance lead COVID-19 antiviral drug

Pardes’ lead oral antiviral drug candidate is designed to inhibit the main protease of SARS-CoV-2

Early-stage biopharma company Pardes Biosciences is set to go public through a merger with special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) FS Development Corp II to advance the development of its oral antiviral COVID-19 drug.

The SPAC is sponsored by Foresite Capital, a healthcare and life sciences investment firm based in the US.

Through the merger deal, Pardes will receive approximately $276m for the advancement of its lead candidate PBI-0451 into clinical trials later this year.

Most of the money raised will come from the SPAC itself, with approximately $75m to be raised through a private round with backers including Foresite, RA Capital Management, Frazier Life Sciences and big pharma company Gilead Sciences.

Upon closing of the transaction, Pardes will be led by chief executive officer Uri Lopatin.

PBI-045 – Pardes’ lead oral antiviral drug candidate – is designed to inhibit the main protease (Mpro) of SARS-CoV-2, the virus which causes COVID-19.

The Mpro is ‘highly similar’ across all coronaviruses, including SARS, MERS and the SARS-CoV-2 emerging coronavirus variants.

In addition to advancing its lead candidate, the proceeds from the transaction will be used to advance additional early discovery programmes using the company’s tunable, reversible covalent chemistry platform.

“COVID-19 has been a global medical catastrophe. Over the past year we have been focused on bringing forward PBI-0451, a viral protease inhibitor that we are developing to be a potential oral therapy for SARS-CoV-2 infections,” said Lopatin.

“Oral antivirals are expected to play an important role in ending this pandemic and preventing the next one,” he added.

Earlier this month, the US government announced that it would invest over $3bn for the development of next-generation antiviral treatments for COVID-19.

A number of companies have been evaluating antiviral treatments for COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic last year.

This includes Gilead’s remdesivir, although the drug is not available for oral administration and was also not recommended in the World Health Organization’s (WHO) COVID-19 drug scheme last November.

Merck, known as MSD outside the US and Canada, is also evaluating a ‘promising’ antiviral candidate – molnupiravir – in collaboration with Ridgeback Biotherapeutics.

Article by
Lucy Parsons

30th June 2021

From: Research, Sales

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