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Eli Lilly Is Already Testing a COVID-19 Antibody Treatment in Humans

By Cory Renauer – Jun 1, 2020 at 12:12PM

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The big pharma's collaboration with AbCellera to create a coronavirus treatment is sprinting forward.

A potential new coronavirus treatment could reach hospitals faster than expected thanks to the joint efforts of a pharmaceutical giant and a small, privately held biotech. Eli Lilly (LLY 0.19%), in partnership with AbCellera, has already treated the first patients in a clinical trial for a new COVID-19 treatment candidate, an antibody called LY-CoV555.

Acting fast 

The antibody under study was first identified by AbCellera and the Vaccine Research Center at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) in a blood sample taken from a patient who had recovered from COVID-19. The big pharma's research and development team has raced LY-CoV555 into the clinical-stage of development just a few months later. 

Physician in a hospital room with a clipboard.

Image source: Getty Images.

Lilly and AbCellera are already a step ahead of Regeneron (REGN 1.32%), a biotechnology pioneer that's developing its own COVID-19 fighting antibody cocktail called REGN-COV2. The FDA is currently reviewing an effective Ebola virus treatment Regeneron developed with the same technology.

Next steps

Lilly's LN-CoV555 isn't just the first biologic drug aimed at COVID-19 to reach clinical-stage testing -- it's also the first medicine discovered by a team that was specifically looking for treatment for this novel coronavirus.

Before the end of June, Lilly will review the results from the first patients treated with LY-CoV555. If there are signs of success without serious side effects, Lilly will begin a broader series of efficacy trials. The company also expects to study the experimental antibody as a preventative measure for vulnerable patients.

While it will take a while to measure results from COVID-19 patients treated with LY-CoV555, Eli Lilly is beginning large-scale manufacturing of the experimental therapy now. 

Cory Renauer has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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Eli Lilly and Company Stock Quote
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