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Everest Medicines inks licensing pact to develop & commercialize Singapore's EDDC's 3CL protease protease inhibitors as potentially best-in-class Covid-19 oral antiviral treatments

Shanghai, China
Saturday, January 15, 2022, 13:00 Hrs  [IST]

Everest Medicines, a biopharmaceutical company, and Singapore's Experimental Drug Development Centre (EDDC) announced a global licensing agreement under which Everest will obtain exclusive worldwide rights to develop, manufacture and commercialize EDDC's series of viral 3C-like (3CL) protease inhibitors as potentially best-in-class Covid-19 oral antiviral treatments. EDDC is Singapore's national platform for drug discovery and development and is hosted by the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR).

Under the terms of the agreement, Everest will obtain exclusive global rights to EDDC's series of 3CL protease inhibitors that have demonstrated potent in-vitro activity against SAR-CoV-2 (the virus that causes Covid-19) and its variants, as well as other coronaviruses such as MERS. Everest has full rights to sub-license the drug further and will receive full technology transfer.

The lead compound is EDDC-2214, a novel and potent SARS-CoV-2 3CL protease inhibitor, which Everest will develop as an oral antiviral Covid-19 therapy. The main protease in SARS-CoV-2 is the 3CL protease. Compared to several other oral Covid-19 antivirals, EDDC-2214 exhibits better in-vitro potency and pre-clinical oral bioavailability. Clinical trials evaluating EDDC-2214 are expected to begin later this year.

"EDDC-2214 and future potential 3CL protease inhibitors are impactful new assets that complement our existing Covid-19 vaccine programme," said Kerry Blanchard, MD, PhD, chief executive officer of Everest Medicines. "We want to offer a package against Covid-19 that has both preventative vaccines and conveniently administered infection treatments. This is a prime example of the innovative risk-sharing relationship Everest is bringing about globally. We intend to bring the drug candidate quickly and efficiently through clinical trials, in order to deliver this novel oral antiviral treatment to patients during this time of limited therapeutic options."

EDDC aims to develop therapeutics and diagnostics that save and improve the lives of patients in Singapore, Asia and around the world. EDDC has already been engaged in several public-private efforts to develop Covid-19 diagnostics and therapeutics, including a program led by other public sector agencies to develop neutralizing monoclonal antibodies against Covid-19. The Centre has demonstrated its strong collaboration ability with international partners and proven competence in bringing therapeutics and vaccines from research into clinical trials. In response to the global outbreak of the H1N1 influenza A virus ("H1N1"), EDDC (via its legacy units, ETC and D3) worked with public and private partners to successfully develop Singapore's first H1N1 influenza vaccine showing favourable immunogenicity. Separately, EDDC utilized its proficiency in bringing early-stage discoveries into clinical development to support the development of a monoclonal antibody against the dengue virus, named VIS513, in collaboration with a US biotech company Visterra Inc. Subsequently, Visterra's pipeline, including VIS513, was acquired by Otsuka Pharmaceutical for $430 million.

"This agreement with Everest positions us to harness the full potential of EDDC-2214 with the potential to deliver it to patients globally," said Prof. Damian O'Connell, MD, PhD, chief executive officer of EDDC. "Our team believes in the determination and ability of Everest to advance potentially best-in-class Covid-19 and pan-coronavirus therapeutics, and we are delighted to partner with Everest to make our joint vision a reality."

Under the terms of the transaction, EDDC will receive an initial upfront payment and downstream clinical and commercial milestone payments, as well as typical royalties on net sales of products. Everest is committed to ensure that any therapeutics developed for Covid-19 will be accessible and affordable globally.

Everest Medicines is a biopharmaceutical company focused on developing and commercializing transformative pharmaceutical products that address critical unmet medical needs for patients in Asian markets.

The Experimental Drug Development Centre (EDDC) is Singapore’s national platform for drug discovery and development, formed from the integration of the Experimental Therapeutics Centre (ETC), drug, discovery and development (D3), and Experimental Biotherapeutics Centre (EBC) in 2019.

The Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) is Singapore's lead public sector R&D agency. Through open innovation, we collaborate with our partners in both the public and private sectors to benefit the economy and society.


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