Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly and Co. (NYSE: LLY) and partner Junshi Biosciences in China have begun another study of a potential antibody treatment to fight COVID-19. The investigational medicine is being co-developed in a partnership announced in May.
The company says Junshi Biosciences is leading development in greater China while Lilly is planning to begin phase 1 of the study in the United States in the coming days.
“There is much we still don’t know about COVID-19. The best path to learn more about the potential for neutralizing antibodies, either as monotherapy or in combination, is through carefully controlled randomized trials. We look forward to the results of such trials in the coming months,” said Dr. Daniel Skovronsky, Lilly’s chief scientific officer and president of Lilly Research Laboratories.
Lilly says both phase 1 studies aim to evaluate the safety, tolerability, pharmacokinetics and immunogenicity of the medicine in healthy participants who have not been diagnosed with COVID-19.
The study is Lilly’s second neutralizing antibody to start clinical trials, following the recently-begun first phase of its study with Vancouver-based startup AbCellera that began June 1.
Lilly says it is planning a clinical development program which includes a portfolio of monotherapy and combination antibody regimens to understand which provide the best efficacy and tolerability in patients.
The company says it is studying multiple approaches to treat COVID-19, including potential antibodies designed to attack the virus as well as existing Lilly medicines to understand their potential in treating complications of COVID-19.