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Lilly reaches agreement with government for COVID treatment

(Photo Provided/Eli Lilly and Co.)

INDIANAPOLIS (Inside INdiana Business) — Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly and Co. (NYSE: LLY) has reached an initial agreement with the U.S. government to supply 300,000 vials of its investigational antibody treatment for COVID-19. The pharmaceutical company says, if the treatment receives an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, it will purchase the vials for $375 million. 

The therapy, known as bamlanivimab or LY-CoV555, is currently being evaluated in several clinical trials for the treatment of COVID-19 in various settings. One of those trials, sponsored by the National Institutes of Health, ended this week after a recommendation by the Independent Drug and Safety Monitoring Board.

Earlier this month, Lilly submitted an EUA request for the treatment of mild-to-moderate COVID-19 in high-risk patients. If the EUA is received, Lilly will deliver the vials over a two-month period.

The government will also have the option to purchase up to an additional 650,000 vials through June 30 of next year.

“Supply agreements with governments – such as this one with the U.S. government to meet Operation Warp Speed goals – are fundamental to enable the most widespread and equitable access to our potential therapy,” Lilly Chief Executive Officer Dave Ricks said in a news release. “The U.S. 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.”

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The U.S. government says, if an EUA is granted, patients will have no out-of-pocket costs for the treatment, although “healthcare facilities may charge a fee for the product’s administration.” 

Lilly says the federal government is partnering with state health departments to develop an allocation program for bamlanivimab. Lilly is also partnering with Operation Warp Speed, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ plan to produce and deliver 300 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines, and a national distributor to finalize distribution plans.

Lilly says it plans to manufacture up to one million doses of bamlanivimab by the end of the year, with 100,000 doses ready to ship within days of receiving an EUA.

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