Adagio goes for name rebrand as it tries to shake off bad run with COVID hopeful

Adagio Therapeutics burst onto the scene in 2020 led by biotech veteran Tillman Gerngross, Ph.D., and in direct response to the COVID pandemic. But in the intervening years, much has changed at the company, and now a new name is reflecting this new reality.

Adagio, a 2020 Fierce 15 winner, now rests as the company becomes Invivyd (pronounced “in-viv-id”). The name is designed to show its desire to create new antibodies “that transcend the limits of the human immune system to better prevent and treat infectious viral diseases.”

With the name change, the company has now started trading under the "IVVD" ticker on the Nasdaq.    

As with many name changes, this comes after a roller coaster period for the company. In biotech, a new name is often used to help with a reset, or a refresh, after tough times.

The Massachusetts-based biotech has certainly been experiencing those rough waters this year. The company originally pitched its leading anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibody as the answer to the emergence of new variants, arguing that its targeting of a highly conserved epitope would ensure efficacy even as the virus evolved.

That pitch was seemingly vaporized, however, by the emergence of the omicron variant late last year—and which continues to dominate today. Early readouts in December 2021 showed that its antibody ADG20 (adintrevimab) was initially linked to a 300-fold reduction in neutralizing activity against the virus, with the company being downbeat about the drug’s future.

At the start of the year, though, Adagio changed its tune after other in vitro studies suggested the antibody did in fact remain effective against the variant. But then its CEO Gerngross left after the farrago back in February—always bad optics for a company—and yet, Adagio vowed to keep going.

As Invivyd, the company is still focused on getting adintrevimab over the regulatory line and into the COVID arsenal of treatments but is also now refocusing on earlier-stage drug candidates that may have a better hit rate against the latest variant.

This includes two molecules joining forces under the name NVD200. This combo therapy, slated for the clinic in the first quarter of 2023, is designed to work against the current crop of omicron variants, namely the BA.1, BA.2, BA.4 and BA.5 sublineages. The biotech is also working on early-stage flu assets.

New CEO David Hering said in the release that he was “excited for our new name as it reflects our commitment to advancing antibody solutions that overcome limitations in both the immune system and existing COVID-19 treatments."