Pfizer and Clear Creek Bio to collaborate on a research program targeting SARS-CoV-2 papain-like protease

PfizerPfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) and Clear Creek Bio, Inc. today announced a research collaboration and exclusive license agreement to advance the discovery and development of potential inhibitors of the SARS-CoV-2 papain-like protease (PLpro) for the oral treatment of COVID-19. PLpro is an essential enzyme, which, along with the main protease (Mpro), plays an important role in viral replication. This program will expand Pfizer's innovative anti-infective pipeline and, if successful, will complement Pfizer’s existing portfolio of COVID-19 products with direct-acting antiviral agents against different SARS-CoV-2 targets.

"COVID-19 has proven to be a devastating and highly unpredictable disease, one with the potential to remain a global health concern for years to come," said Charlotte Allerton, Chief Scientific Officer, Anti-Infectives and Head of Medicine Design, of Pfizer. "It is critical that we try to stay ahead of the virus, continuing to advance clinical development opportunities for our current oral therapy as well as innovating through our internal programs and strategic partnerships to bring forward additional monotherapy and/or combination treatment candidates that we believe may play a role in the ongoing fight against COVID-19."

"As COVID-19 continues to evolve, there is a significant need for oral antivirals with novel mechanisms of action," said Vikram Sheel Kumar, M.D., Chief Executive Officer of Clear Creek Bio. "We explored the druggable SARS-CoV-2 genome and identified PLpro as a promising and untapped target. Leveraging our team’s expertise and success in bringing novel drugs from idea to approval, we internally developed highly potent PLpro inhibitors. We look forward to working with Pfizer, a global leader in antiviral development, to advance a new class of oral antivirals for COVID-19."

Under the terms of the agreement, the two companies will work together to identify a PLpro candidate to progress into the clinic, at which time Pfizer will be solely responsible for further development and commercialization activities. Clear Creek Bio will receive an undisclosed upfront payment and will be eligible to receive additional potential milestone payments plus royalties on future product sales.

About SARS-CoV-2 PLpro

SARS-CoV-2 has two essential proteases, the main protease (Mpro) and the papain-like protease (PLpro), both required to fully process the viral polyprotein and assemble a functional replicase complex. In addition to its critical role in viral replication, the PLpro also contributes to dysregulation of host innate immunity and immune evasion.

About Pfizer: Breakthroughs That Change Patients' Lives

At Pfizer, we apply science and our global resources to bring therapies to people that extend and significantly improve their lives. We strive to set the standard for quality, safety and value in the discovery, development and manufacture of health care products, including innovative medicines and vaccines. Every day, Pfizer colleagues work across developed and emerging markets to advance wellness, prevention, treatments and cures that challenge the most feared diseases of our time. Consistent with our responsibility as one of the world's premier innovative biopharmaceutical companies, we collaborate with health care providers, governments and local communities to support and expand access to reliable, affordable health care around the world. For more than 170 years, we have worked to make a difference for all who rely on us.

About Clear Creek Bio

Clear Creek Bio is a private biotechnology company focused on developing therapeutics for global unmet needs. Activities span in-house small molecule discovery through early clinical development. In addition to the PLpro program, Clear Creek Bio is evaluating brequinar, a potent oral inhibitor of dihydroorotate dehydrogenase (DHODH), in combinations with other therapeutics against a wide range of RNA viruses.

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