Eli Lilly And Co (NYSE:LLY) revealed on Monday that it started testing human subjects with its developmental treatment for COVID-19, which is based on antibodies.
The biopharma is currently working on phase 1 of the clinical trial, through which it aims to test the safety and efficacy of the drug. Eli Lilly plans to publish the first results of the phase 1 study in June this year. The study is being conducted at Emory University in Atlanta, Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles, and the Grossman School of Medicine in New York.
The fact that the phase 1 trial of the antibody-based Dan Skovronsky treatment is in 3 locations will allow Eli Lilly’s researchers to identify whether the treatment will yield similar results. The pharmaceutical giant revealed that it may roll out the treatment as early as fall if the phase 1 trial yields positive results.
“Until now, scientists have been trying to repurpose medicines, drugs, that were designed for new diseases to see if they work in Covid-19, but as soon as this epidemic started, we got to work making a new medicine against this disease,” stated Eli Lilly’s Chief Scientific Officer and Senior Vice President Dr. Dan Skovronsky.
Skovronsky also stated that his company is not racing against other companies to create a coronavirus treatment. Instead, the company views this as a race against the virus and its potentially higher death toll. He also hopes that there will be multiple successful treatments from different companies, including antibody-based coronavirus treatments.
Eli Lilly created the pipeline antibody-based coronavirus treatment in partnership with a Canadian-based biotechnology firm called AbCellera. The use of antibodies to treat a disease is not a new strategy in the pharmaceutical industry. The human body produces disease-fighting antibodies known as antibodies when a person recovers from an illness, allowing the body to fight off that disease more effectively in case the person is exposed again.
Eli Lilly will use antibodies harvested from the plasma of patients that have recovered from the coronavirus. This approach has previously worked when treating other diseases, and Eli Lilly is confident that it will also work against the coronavirus.