The authorized Covid-19 drug list includes many drugs that are injected or infused, and these formulations are not suitable for outpatient use. Pardes Biosciences is developing an antiviral drug in pill form.The company is still in the pre-clinical development stage, but the startup’s approach and its senior leadership have aroused the interest of the blank check company, which has reached Merger transaction This made Pardes public and injected $276 million into it.
The two companies announced on Tuesday that Pardes will merge with FS Development Corp. II, a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) sponsored by Foreste Capital. After the transaction is completed, the merged entity will retain the name of Pardes Biosciences. The new company also hopes to have a new Nasdaq stock symbol: “PRDS”.
The lead drug candidate for Pardes in Carlsbad, California is PBI-0451, a protease inhibitor. These drugs block proteases, which are key enzymes for virus replication. Protease inhibitors have entered the market for the treatment of HIV and hepatitis C. Pardes has developed a drug for the SARS-CoV-2 master protease (Mpro), an enzyme that a new type of coronavirus needs early in its life cycle. This enzyme is a good target because it is not found in the human body, so blocking it is unlikely to cause adverse reactions.
This protease is also “highly conservative”, which means that even if the new coronavirus mutates, it will not change much. This means that PBI0451’s target for Mpro should continue to be effective for current variants and emerging new variants. In addition, every known coronavirus requires Mpro, which makes it possible for Pardes drugs to treat coronavirus infections other than Covid-19.
Pardes is not the only company developing protease inhibitors for Covid-19.Pfizer has reached First stage test Its oral antiviral drug PF-07321332. The drug targets a protease called SARS-CoV-2 3CL. In addition to Covid-19, Pfizer also stated that its drug candidate has shown activity against other coronaviruses in laboratory tests, indicating that it may also become a tool to deal with the threat of future coronaviruses.
Pardes is led by CEO Uri Lopatin, and his experience includes leading Gilead Sciences and Roche’s hepatitis B virus project. He was also the founder and chief medical officer of Assembly Pharmaceuticals (later to become Assembly Biosciences). Lopatin could not comment. Chief Science Officer Lee Arnold is another alumnus of Assembly Biosciences; Chief Development Officer Brian Kearney is a 21-year veteran of Gilead Sciences.
Until Tuesday, Paders maintained a rather low-key stance.According to a startup, the startup was established in February 2020 Investor introduction. Ten months later, the company nominated PBI-0451 as its Covid-19 drug candidate.In February of this year, Pardes quietly proposed a US$52 million in Series A financing Financing. The company is currently conducting pre-clinical studies to support the submission of investigational new drug applications. In his speech, Pardes said that clinical studies are expected to begin in the first quarter of next year to evaluate PBI-0451 as a treatment for Covid-19. At the same time, the company plans to conduct a separate Phase 3 study to test the drug’s role in Covid-19 prevention.
Pardes is not a single-drug biotechnology. The presentation showed that the company’s product line includes second-generation coronavirus drugs that are currently in the preclinical stage. Pardes is developing drugs to treat other non-coronavirus infections. The company is still in the discovery phase with undisclosed inflammation and oncology projects.
The SPAC merger will bring Pardes US$201.2 million, which is the cash balance in the FS Development Corp. II account. During the merger process, a group of investors agreed to buy $75 million worth of shares in the company. These investors include Foreste Capital, RA Capital Management, Frazier Life Sciences, funds and accounts advised by T. Rowe Price Associates, GMF Capital LLC, EcoR1 Capital, Monashee Investment Management LLC and Gilead Sciences.
Foresite Capital has been spreading its Covid-19 treatment bets.The company also invests in Adagio Therapeutics, a company based in Waltham, Massachusetts, develops antibody drugs for the treatment and prevention of infections From SARS-CoV-2 and its variants, as well as other coronaviruses.
Pardes currently has a cash balance of US$42.2 million, so this transaction will bring the company’s total revenue of US$318.4 million. The transaction is expected to be completed in the third quarter of this year.
Picture from Pardes Biosciences Investor Introduction