Eli Lilly (NYSE:LLY) has been doing its part in the fight against COVID-19. On June 1, the pharma giant began a clinical trial for a potential antibody treatment for the disease called LY-CoV555, which it is developing in collaboration with privately held biotech AbCellera. Now, Eli Lilly is initiating a phase 1 clinical trial for a second potential COVID-19 treatment, an antibody called JS016, this time in partnership with China-based Junshi Biosciences. Eli Lilly will conduct a study of JS016 in the U.S., while Junshi will conduct one in China.
As early-stage trials, these studies will test the safety, tolerability, immunogenicity (the ability to trigger an immune response in the body), and pharmacokinetics (the way the body processes the treatment) in healthy volunteers who haven't been diagnosed with the novel coronavirus. Contingent on positive results from these clinical trials, Eli Lilly will move on to evaluating JS016's efficacy. Note that Junshi Biosciences holds the rights to JS016 in China, while Eli Lilly owns the rights to it in the rest of the world.
Although Eli Lilly has already advanced two potential COVID-19 antibody treatments to clinical trials, the pharma giant does not plan to stop there. The company says it hopes to develop a "portfolio of monotherapy and combination antibody regimens ... in order to understand which provide the best efficacy and tolerability in patients." The company has other antibody treatments in preclinical development, which means we can expect it to announce more clinical trials for potential COVID-19 treatments soon.