Novartis has teamed up with another Swiss-based company, a clinical-stage biotech known as Molecular Partners, to commence a clinical trial called EMPATHY to investigate the use of the novel DARPin® therapeutic candidate called ensovibep (MP0420) for the treatment of COVID-19. Specifically, this Phase 2 and 3 study will determine the safety and efficacy of ensovibep in patients at the early stages of the COVID-19 infection. The great majority of coronavirus cases are early-onset and mild-to-moderate, so the goal of the treatment is to prevent worsening of symptoms and hospitalization. Representing a market of $3+ billion per year, the stakes are big for this general, early-stage COVID-19 therapeutic space with companies such as Merck and Pfizer also conducting clinical trials for competitive investigational products.
The Study Drug
Developed by Molecular Partners, this investigational product has been identified as a target to treat SARS-CoV-2. DARPins offer a differentiated approach to addressing COVID-19 via a single molecule that can engage up to three parts of the pathogen in parallel to neutralize the virus via multiple mechanisms of action.
The goal here is to offe...
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