Pardes expects to start larger trial of COVID-19 antiviral pill by mid-year

Interim data from an ongoing early-stage trial has shown that a twice-daily intake of the pill can trigger potent antiviral activity against SARS-CoV-2

 PBI-0451 protease inhibitor pills for treating the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) are seen in a container in this undated handout photo obtained by Reuters on December 16, 2021. Pardes Biosciences/Handout via REUTERS (photo credit: HANDOUT/REUTERS)
PBI-0451 protease inhibitor pills for treating the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) are seen in a container in this undated handout photo obtained by Reuters on December 16, 2021. Pardes Biosciences/Handout via REUTERS
(photo credit: HANDOUT/REUTERS)

Pardes Biosciences Inc said on Monday it expects to start a mid-to-late-stage trial of its experimental COVID-19 antiviral pill by mid-year, following promising data from early human testing.

Interim data from an ongoing early-stage trial has shown that a twice-daily intake of the pill, PBI-0451, can trigger potent antiviral activity against SARS-CoV-2 and its emerging variants, Pardes said.

The drug was well-tolerated and all adverse events reported so far have been assessed as mild in severity and resolved without intervention, the company added.

The Pardes drug is a protease inhibitor, designed to prevent the coronavirus from replicating in human cells. That is the same class of medicine as Pfizer's nirmatrelvir.

When used in combination with Pfizer's older antiviral ritonavir, nirmatrelvir was shown to cut the risk of hospitalization or death by 89% for COVID-19 patients at high risk of severe illness.

 A nurse prepares to administer a fourth booster Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to a person with an implanted heart. (credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/MAARIV) A nurse prepares to administer a fourth booster Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to a person with an implanted heart. (credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/MAARIV)

Pardes said its drug has the potential to be a standalone treatment, unlike medicines such as Pfizer's two-drug antiviral regimen Paxlovid, which need to be taken with a second booster medication.