Candidate: ATR-002

Type: MEK inhibitor small molecule drug candidate targeting the intracellular Raf/MEK/ERK signaling pathway. ATR-002 has been developed to treat RNA virus diseases such as influenza and coronaviruses, including SARS-CoV-2. In influenza virus infected cells, the interaction of ATR-002 with MEK (MAPK/ERK kinase) has been shown to reduce the viral load in the body by preventing export of viral genome protein complexes (ribonucleoprotein, RNP) from the nucleus to the cytoplasm, thus blocking the formation of functional new viral particles.

Status: Atriva said May 28 it will launch in July a multinational, double-blind, randomized Phase II trial designed to evaluate ATR-002 as a treatment for COVID-19. The trial will aim to demonstrate ATR-002’s efficacy against moderate COVID-19, compared to placebo, in hospitalized patients.

ATR-002 has been developed specifically to treat respiratory viral infections by inhibiting MEK, a host cell factor required for the replication of various RNA viruses, including influenza virus and SARS-CoV-2. According to Atriva, preclinical studies using virus strains from German patients with COVID-19, conducted at the Universities of Tübingen and Münster, have shown that ATR-002 generated MEK inhibition that prevented SARS-CoV-2 replication—and also significantly decreased pro-inflammatory cytokine and chemokine expression in cell lines, primary human cells, and an animal model of acute lung injury. Thus, Atriva reasons, ATR-002 could prevent a cytokine storm and associated disease progression in patients with COVID-19.

Last year, ATR-002 successfully completed a Phase I clinical trial where it demonstrated excellent safety and tolerability in healthy volunteers.

Evonik Industries, a German specialty chemicals company, serves as the development and manufacturing partner to produce ATR-002 for the Phase II clinical study, under a long-term collaboration with Atriva. In parallel, Atriva said, it is is preparing for the ramp-up of ATR-002 production to provide enough doses for extended clinical trials and market access following trial completion.

COVID-19: 200 Candidates and Counting

To navigate through the >200 potential therapeutic and vaccine options for COVID-19, GEN has grouped the candidates into four broad categories based on their developmental and (where applicable) clinical progress:

FRONT RUNNER – the most promising therapeutics/vaccines based on clinical progress, favorable data or both.

DEFINITELY MAYBE – earlier phases with promising partners, or more advanced candidates in development that have generated uneven data.

KEEPING AN EYE ON… – interesting technology, attracting notable partners, or both, but preliminary data.

TOO SOON TO TELL – longshots pending additional experimental and/or clinical data.

GEN has also tagged the most common treatment types:


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