EIB backs Atriva Therapeutics with €24 million for potential coronavirus treatmentChristian Fernsby ▼ | October 21, 2020
The European Investment Bank (EIB) and Atriva Therapeutics GmbH concluded a €24 million financing agreement to facilitate the company’s development and clinical testing of a novel therapy treating severe respiratory infections with RNA viruses.
Atriva Therapeutics EIB group
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 the influenza virus and SARS-CoV-2.
Atriva’s pre-clinical studies, performed at the Universities of Tübingen and Münster, have demonstrated that MEK inhibition by ATR-002 also prevents SARS-CoV-2 replication.
In addition to its antiviral efficacy, ATR-002 shows a second beneficial effect: the MEK-inhibitor was able to significantly decrease pro-inflammatory cytokine and chemokine expression in cells.
Cytokines and chemokines are proteins that coordinate the immune response throughout the body. In patients with coronavirus, ATR-002 could prevent a cytokine storm and the associated disease progression to a life-threatening condition.
This dual benefit, antiviral activity and immunomodulation, positions ATR-002 as a promising therapeutic candidate. Atriva has filed the respective patents with the European Patent Office. In addition, ATR-002 successfully completed a Phase I clinical trial in 2019 where it demonstrated excellent safety and tolerability in healthy volunteers.
Atriva will receive the EIB loan in three tranches upon the completion of pre-defined milestones. The funds will support the company’s R and D for ATR-002, including clinical trial expenses, the technical transfer and manufacturing ramp-up needed to reach a commercial scale, as well as regulatory, intellectual property, pharmacovigilance and market access activities.
Atriva will now start a multinational, double-blind, randomised clinical Phase II study in hospitalised patients with moderate to severe coronavirus infections. ■