US to buy $1B of GlaxoSmithKline, Vir's COVID-19 antibody drug

GlaxoSmithKline and Vir Biotechnology said Nov. 17 the U.S. government has agreed to buy $1 billion worth of its COVID-19 monoclonal antibody drug sotrovimab. 

The drugmakers did not specify how many doses the U.S. government would get, but said they have agreements to sell more than 750,000 doses worldwide. GlaxoSmithKline is to supply all  of the doses to the U.S. by Dec. 17. In addition to those doses, the U.S. has the option to purchase more doses through March 2022 under the current deal. 

The FDA granted emergency use authorization for the antibody drug in May to treat those at high risk for hospitalization or death from COVID-19.  

"Given the large number of patients who continue to become ill with COVID-19 across many regions in the US, there is an ongoing need for access to effective treatments. We are proud to work with the U.S. government to help make sotrovimab available for these patients," Hal Barron, MD, GlaxoSmithKline's chief scientific officer, said in a news release. 

In March, GlaxoSmithKline and Vir released data saying the drug was 85 percent effective at reducing virus-related hospitalizations and death in a phase 3 clinical trial. In June, they released data saying the drug resulted in a 79 percent reduction in the risk of hospitalization for more than 24 hours or death due to any cause.


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