The US will spend $375 million on 300,000 vials of Eli Lilly's experimental COVID-19 antibody therapy — if the FDA approves it

The US will spend $375 million on 300,000 vials of Eli Lilly's experimental COVID-19 antibody therapy — if the FDA approves it
Eli Lilly's antibody therapy is currently pending FDA approval.Reuters
  • Eli Lilly has agreed to supply 300,000 vials of its COVID-19 antibody treatment in the US, pending the treatment's emergency approval by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
  • The US government has agreed to spend $375 million on the vials, Eli Lilly said Wednesday.
  • It said the therapy, bamlanivimab, would be used in "high-risk" patients with mild-to-moderate COVID-19.
  • Patients would not have to pay for the medicine, Eli Lilly said.

Drugmaker Eli Lilly has announced a $375 million agreement with the US government to supply 300,000 vials of its experimental antibody therapy to high-risk COVID-19 patients — pending emergency approval by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The treatment, bamlanivimab, is the same one that the drugmaker paused a trial of on Monday, citing data that suggested it was "unlikely" to help hospitalized patients recover from the virus.

Eli Lilly said Wednesday it expects to manufacture 1 million doses of the antibody treatment by the end of year, with 100,000 doses ready to ship worldwide soon after authorization.
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It will be able to treat patients with mild-to-moderate COVID-19, it said.

The US government will initially pay $375 million for 300,000 vials of the antibody treatment if the FDA grants it an emergency use authorization (EUA), Eli Lilly said.

Patients will not have to pay for the medicine, it said.
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"The initial agreement is for delivery over the two months following an EUA and also provides the option for the U.S. government to purchase up to an additional 650,000 vials through June 30, 2021," the company said in a statement.

The statement said that "patients will have no out-of-pocket costs for the medicine," although healthcare facilities may charge a fee for the administration of the treatment.Eli Lilly submitted an emergency use authorization application to the FDA in early October. Its submission came moments before President Donald Trump said he would approve Eli Lilly's antibody treatment in the US.
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In a tweet, the drugmaker said that the antibody therapy will be able to treat mild to moderate infections of COVID-19 in high-risk patients.

David A. Ricks, Lilly's chairman and CEO said: "The US is experiencing a surge in COVID-19 cases and associated hospitalizations, and we believe bamlanivimab could be an important therapeutic option that can bring value to the overall healthcare system, as it has shown a potential benefit in clinical outcomes with a reduction in viral load and rates of symptoms and hospitalizations."

COVID-19 has killed more than 1.17 people worldwide, and cases of the infection, which currently stand at more than 44 million, are resurging in certain parts of the world, including Europe and the US.
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