About RSV

RSV is the most common cause of bronchiolitis (inflammation of the small airways in the lung) and pneumonia in children under one year of age in the U.S. and a significant cause of respiratory illness in older adults and immunocompromised individuals.

Recent estimates suggest that approximately 200,000 hospitalizations in the U.S. and European Union occur each year in children under the age of two, and approximately 170,000 hospitalizations in these regions occur each year in adults age 65 and older.



About hMPV

Discovered in 2001, hMPV is in the same paramyxovirus family as RSV. It is the second most common cause of lower respiratory tract infection in children of less than five years of age (behind RSV) and is associated with greater than 20,000 hospitalizations in the U.S every year. It also presents a significant health challenge in the elderly and immunocompromised individuals with more than 100,000 hospitalizations annually.



About SARS-CoV-2

SARS-CoV-2, initially called 2019-nCoV, is a novel human coronavirus renamed after because of its significant homology to SARS-CoV. It is an enveloped, positive sense, single strand RNA virus with a genome size of almost 30KB, which encodes both structural proteins such as the spike glycoprotein responsible for interaction with cell receptor and viral entry and non-structural proteins such as 3C-like protease, papain-like protease and RNA-dependent RNA polymerase that are essential for viral replication.


Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV)

RSV is a virus that infects the lungs and represents a serious unmet medical need in infants and children, as well as immunocompromised individuals and the elderly. RSV is the most common cause of bronchiolitis and pneumonia in children under the age of one. In a large United States based study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, RSV infection in children was associated with 20% of hospitalizations, 18% of emergency department visits, and 15% of pediatric office visits for acute respiratory infections in a six month timeframe. Though a prophylactic monoclonal antibody-based treatment (palivizumab) is available for those considered at high risk for RSV infection, this study found that most young children affected by RSV infection were previously healthy, and thus would not normally be considered for prophylaxis. Currently, no safe and effective treatments exist for RSV infection.

Enanta has selected EDP-938, a potent non-fusion inhibitor of both RSV-A and RSV-B activity, as its first development candidate for RSV. Top-line results of a Phase 2 challenge study of EDP-938 were announced in June 2019 showing EDP-938 achieved highly statistically significant (p<0.001) reduction in viral load and resolution of clinical symptoms compared to placebo. Preclinical data also demonstrated a rapid reduction in viral load, below the limits of detection in animals treated with EDP-938. In November 2019, Enanta initiated RSVP, a Phase 2b study in adult outpatients with community-acquired RSV.


Human Metapneumovirus (hMPV)

hMPV is a significant cause of respiratory tract infections (RTIs), particularly in children, the elderly, and immunocompromised individuals. It is the second most common cause of lower respiratory tract infection in children of less than five years of age (behind RSV), associated with greater than 20,000 hospitalizations in the U.S every year. It also presents a significant health challenge in the elderly and immunocompromised individuals with more than 100,000 hospitalizations annually. Children hospitalized with hMPV infection, as compared to those without, are more likely to be diagnosed with pneumonia or asthma, to require supportive care, and to have longer stays in the intensive care unit. In adults, hMPV infection accounts for up to 13.2% of hospitalizations with acute RTIs, similar to those of RSV and influenza. In one prospective study, high morbidity rates were reported with hMPV infections in hematologic malignancy patients and hematopoietic cell transplant recipients developing lower RTIs (34%), and patients who progressed to lower RTIs experienced higher mortality rates (27%). Currently there is no vaccine or specific antiviral treatment available for hMPV thereby creating a significant unmet medical need.

Enanta has discovered a series of novel small molecular inhibitors of hMPV with nanomolar EC50 in vitro. These compounds are currently under lead optimization, with the goal of identifying a potential drug candidate for preclinical and clinical proof-of-concept studies.


SARS-CoV-2

The pandemic coronavirus disease COVID-19 is caused by the infection of a novel human coronavirus, severe acute respiratory syndrome-coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2). This is only the seventh known coronavirus that infects humans. Some of the previously identified strains such as HCoV-229E and HCoV-OC43 have been circulating in humans for years but usually cause only very mild symptoms. Two recent outbreaks with the highly pathogenic SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV were quickly suppressed through rigorous infection control.

SARS-CoV-2 causes serious infection, manifested by fever and pneumonia, leading to acute respiratory distress syndrome, which has been described in up to 20% of COVID-19 cases. COVID-19 appears to be much more transmissible and difficult to contain than either SARS or MERS. Current treatment for COVID-19 is mainly supportive care and experimental antiviral therapy using drugs repurposed from other indications, which have questionable efficacy and significant side effects. Based on the transmission characteristics of SARS-CoV-2 and the experience with other coronaviruses, the current outbreak is likely to persist globally for extended time and the virus may emerge again in future outbreaks.

Enanta, with a long and successful track record for antiviral drug discovery, is testing compounds from its existing antiviral compound library for potential activity against SARS-CoV-2. It has also initiated a novel drug discovery program using its expertise in direct-acting antiviral mechanisms to identify new candidates to treat COVID-19.


For an overview of our research, including our licensed products, please see Our Pipeline.