Coronavirus antibody trial : US pharma giant Eli Lilly and Company (Lilly) said that patients have been dosed in a phase 1 clinical trial with the investigational antibody LY-CoV555 for the treatment of COVID-19.
LY-CoV555 is the first antibody candidate to emerge from Lilly’s collaboration with AbCellera Biologics, which was announced in March 2020, with an aim to create antibody therapies for both the prevention and treatment of the novel coronavirus.
Lilly said that its scientists quickly developed the LY-CoV555 antibody candidate in three months after AbCellera Biologics and the Vaccine Research Center at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) identified it from a blood sample taken from one of the first US patients who recovered from the virus infection.
According to the US pharma giant, LY-CoV555 is the first investigational drug to have been designed specifically to attack SARS-CoV-2, the virus that results in COVID-19.
The first patients in the coronavirus antibody trial were dosed at major medical centers across the US, including NYU Grossman School of Medicine and Cedars-Sinai located in Los Angeles.
Daniel Skovronsky – Lilly chief scientific officer and president of Lilly Research Laboratories, commenting on the coronavirus antibody trial, said: “We are privileged to help usher in this new era of drug development with the first potential new medicine specifically designed to attack the virus. Antibody therapies such as LY-CoV555 may have potential for both prevention and treatment of COVID-19 and may be particularly important for groups hardest hit by the disease such as the elderly and those with compromised immune systems.
“Later this month, we will review the results of this first human study and intend to initiate broader efficacy trials. At the same time as we are investigating safety and efficacy, we also are starting large-scale manufacturing of this potential therapy. If LY-CoV555 becomes part of the near-term solution for COVID-19, we want to be ready to deliver it to patients as quickly as possible, with the goal of having several hundred thousand doses available by the end of the year.”
Lilly said that if results from the phase 1 clinical trial prove that the antibody can be administered safely, it can go ahead with the next phase of testing, which is evaluating LY-CoV555 in non-hospitalized COVID-19 patients.
The US pharma giant also intends to assess the drug candidate in a preventative setting, where it will focus on vulnerable patient populations who historically are not suitable candidates for vaccines.