Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) causes a common symptomatic infection of the respiratory tract and lungs. While it often resolves spontaneously, RSV has the potential to become clinically severe – leading to bronchiolitis (infection of the small airways in the lungs) and pneumonia.
Patients at high risk for severe RSV infection include premature infants, older adults (particularly those 65 years and older), people with underlying conditions such as chronic lung disease or cardiac disease, and people with compromised immune systems.
Globally, RSV affects an estimated 64 million people annually. The U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that in the U.S. alone, each year more than 125,000 children and 177,000 older adults are hospitalized, and approximately 14,000 older adults die from diseases associated with or exacerbated by an RSV infection.
Currently, there are no safe, effective and widely available pharmaceutical treatments for RSV infections. Ribavirin is the only approved treatment, but it has questionable efficacy and documented toxicity with many side effects. By 2024, the RSV treatment market is expected to exceed $5 billion.
Atea has developed several targeted nucleoside prodrugs with the potential to treat RSV infections – including AT-889 and other development candidates. These compounds have successfully demonstrated potent in vitro activity and highly selective inhibitory effects for RSV.
Our RSV therapy is designed to be administered to all patients for a period of 7 days. While adults would be treated with an oral tablet once or twice daily, hospitalized pediatric and adult patients would be treated parentally, and pediatric outpatients would receive an oral liquid formulation.
Atea plans to declare an RSV product candidate in 2020, after which we expect to quickly advance to clinical studies in patients.