Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly and Co. is touting the results of a Phase 2 clinical trial involving one of its COVID-19 antibody therapies. Lilly says the trial, conducted along with California-based Vir Biotechnology Inc. (Nasdaq: VIR) and GlaxoSmithKline plc (NYSE: GSK) in the United Kingdom, showed low-risk adult patients with mild to moderate COVID-19 saw a 70% reduction in persistently high viral load when taking bamlanivimab along with VIR-7831, a compound developed by Vir and GSK.
Lilly says of the patients who received the combination, there were no hospitalizations or deaths reported in the study. Only one patient visited the emergency room for COVID-related symptoms.
“The reduction in persistently high viral load is an important virology endpoint that was demonstrated in Lilly’s Phase 2 BLAZE-1 trial, and subsequently validated in the Phase 3 trial, to be strongly correlated with the clinical outcome of COVID-19 related hospitalizations and deaths in high-risk patients,” said Dr. Daniel Skovronsky, chief scientific officer for Lilly and president of Lilly Research Laboratories. “These virology data support our belief that bamlanivimab and VIR-7831 together could be a promising option for COVID-19 treatment.”
Lilly says bamlanivimab and VIR-7831 bind to different regions of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. The company cites preclinical data, which suggests the therapies together could provide protection against current variants of the virus that are resistant to bamlanivimab alone.
Bamlanivimab has received an Emergency Use Authorization for high-risk COVID-19 patients, both by itself and in combination with another Lilly drug, etesevimab. Lilly says an EUA application has been submitted for VIR-7831, and all three companies expect to engage with the FDA and other global regulators regarding the co-administration of both therapies.