Eli Lilly inks $375M deal with US to supply COVID-19 antibody drug

Eli Lilly signed a $375 million deal with HHS to supply 300,000 vials of its experimental COVID-19 antibody treatment, the drugmaker announced Oct. 28.

The U.S. government will accept the vials of the antibody drug, called bamlanivimab, if it receives emergency use authorization from the FDA. Eli Lilly submitted a request for emergency use authorization to the FDA Oct. 7. 

If an emergency use authorization is granted, U.S. officials have promised that patients will not have to pay any out-of-pocket costs for bamlanivimab. However, healthcare providers may charge a fee for the drug's administration.

"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," Eli Lilly Chairman and CEO David Ricks said in a news release. 

The deal is for delivery over the two months following an emergency use authorization. It also gives the U.S. the option to buy up to an additional 650,000 vials through June 30, 2021.

Eli Lilly plans to manufacture up to one million doses of bamlanivimab by the end of 2020 and says it will be ready to ship 100,000 doses "within days of authorization," according to the drugmaker's news release.

The drug will be used to treat patients with mild COVID-19 cases, Mr. Ricks said Oct. 27, after Eli Lilly stopped one of its clinical trials for bamlanivimab, finding that it does not improve recovery times or survival rates for patients hospitalized with advanced COVID-19.

More articles on pharmacy:
FDA is letting COVID-19 vaccine makers skip inspection before emergency authorization
Vertex urged to address 'fatal inequality' in access to its cystic fibrosis drug
CVS to add rapid COVID-19 testing at 1,000 pharmacies

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