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Eli Lilly reports first results for COVID-19 targeting antibody

Promising data shows reduction in rate of hospitalisations

Eli Lilly’s novel antibody LY-CoV555 has demonstrated promise in a phase 2 study investigating its benefit in moderate-to-severe COVID-19 patients.

LY-CoV555 is designed to specifically neutralise SARS-CoV-2, the virus which causes COVID-19, and was identified from a blood sample taken from a recovered COVID-19 patient in the US. The antibody came out of a collaboration between Lilly and AbCellera, agreed back in March, that focused on the development of antibody products for the treatment of the novel coronavirus.

In the first results from Lilly’s BLAZE-1 clinical trial, LY-CoV555 was able to reduce the rate of hospitalisations in the patient population, and also met the primary endpoint of change from baseline in viral load at day 11.

However, only one of the doses tested – 2800mg – met this primary endpoint, with the other two doses – 700mg and 7000mg – showing no significant improvement over placebo on this measure. Despite this, Lilly said that LY-CoV555 improved viral clearance at day 3, with fewer patients on receiving the drug demonstrating a persistently high viral load at later time points.

In terms of the key secondary endpoints, in the LY-CoV555 treatment arm, 1.7% of participants were hospitalised or visited an emergency room due to COVID-19 compared to 6% in the placebo arm. Also, in exploratory analyses, Lilly added that LY-CoV555 seemed to improve COVID-19 symptoms at a faster rate compared to those who did not receive the antibody treatment.

Although the results are promising, a larger confirmatory trial is needed to show the comprehensive details of LY-CoV555’s benefit in COVID-19. Lilly recently launched a phase 3 study of the antibody for the prevention of COVID-19 in residents and staff at nursing homes across the US, as well as further studies in the ambulatory and hospital settings.

The BLAZE-1 study is also still ongoing, with Lilly aiming to enrol a total of 800 patients into the trial, as well as testing another antibody, LY-CoV016, which binds to a different target on the SARS-CoV-2 protein.

“This is extremely exciting, and maybe a pivotal moment in the fight against COVID-19,”  Daniel Skovronsky, Lilly’s chief scientific officer, told STAT.

“I think this should give us confidence that neutralising antibodies are going to be an important part of the solution for ours and other companies, and that we will win the fight against COVID-19 through medicine and innovation,” he added.

Skrovnosky also told STAT that Lilly was considering its “next steps” with global health authorities, with the possibility of moving toward an emergency use authorisation (EUA) for the antibody from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Article by
Lucy Parsons

17th September 2020

From: Research

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