Lilly says antibody drug cuts hospitalization among moderate COVID-19 patients

by Reuters
Wednesday, 16 September 2020 13:04 GMT

(Adds share movement, background on antibody treatments)

By Deena Beasley

Sept 16 (Reuters) - Eli Lilly and Co said on Wednesday interim trial data showed its experimental antibody treatment reduced the need for hospitalization and emergency room visits for patients with moderate COVID-19.

Lilly's mid-stage study tested three different doses of LY-CoV555, an antibody treatment designed to recognize and lock onto the novel coronavirus, thus preventing the infection from spreading.

Analysts expect antibody treatments could help some patients, as broad distribution of coronavirus vaccine candidates is expected to be lengthy.

Many companies including Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc and Vir Biotechnology are also testing antibody treatments for COVID-19. The drugs are the first to be designed specifically to fight COVID-19.

Of the total 302 patients treated with three different doses of LY-CoV555, five of them, or 1.7%, had to be admitted to a hospital or visited a hospital emergency room, compared with 6%, or 9 out of 150 on placebo, Lilly said.

Only the middle dose, of 2,800 milligrams, achieved the trial's main goal of reducing the viral load detected in patients compared to a placebo 11 days after treatment, Lilly said.

No drug-related serious adverse events or trial deaths were reported.

Lilly said it expects to publish the results of the interim analysis in a peer-reviewed journal and discuss appropriate next steps with global regulators.

It said the trial, which is ongoing, has now enrolled 800 patients with mild-to-moderate COVID-19. The study is also testing LY-CoV555 in combination with another antibody treatment, LY-CoV016.

The antibodies, given by intravenous infusion, are also being tested for preventing COVID-19 in residents and staff at long-term care facilities and for treating patients already hospitalized due to COVID-19. Lilly's shares rose 1.3% to $152 before the opening bell. (Reporting by Deena Beasley in Los Angeles and Manas Mishra in Bengaluru; Editing by Edwina Gibbs and Shinjini Ganguli)

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