Feds end study trying to treat COVID-19 with Eli Lilly antibody, remdesivir

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The feds have stopped a clinical trial of two coronavirus treatments after determining the combination of drugs wasn’t helping hospitalized patients.

The study aimed to evaluate whether Eli Lilly and Co.’s antibody treatment was effective in people hospitalized for COVID-19 who were also receiving remdesivir, the antiviral drug developed by Gilead Sciences.

An independent panel that reviewed data from the trial decided to end it Monday because there was “a low likelihood that the intervention would be of clinical value” to the hospitalized patients, according to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the government agency that sponsored the study.

The move followed the panel’s Oct. 13 decision to stop enrolling patients in the study over safety concerns. Officials said 326 people were enrolled in the trial that gave patients either Lilly’s drug or a placebo in addition to a standard course of care that included remdesivir, which the Food and Drug Administration approved last week.

Indianapolis-based Lilly is still seeking an emergency use authorization from the FDA for its antibody treatment, named LY-CoV555. President Trump has endorsed making such treatments more widely available after he received a similar drug made by New York-based Regeneron during his bout with COVID-19 earlier this month.

Lilly did not immediately respond to a request for comment early Tuesday, but the company told The Wall Street Journal that all other studies of LY-CoV555 were continuing. The NIAID said it is still enrolling participants in a separate study of the drug in coronavirus patients who don’t need hospitalization.

It’s uncertain when or whether the FDA may grant emergency approval for Lilly’s antibody treatment, but the company has said it could supply as many as 1 million doses of the drug in the fourth quarter of this year.

Lilly’s stock price slid about 3.2 percent in premarket trading Tuesday to $137.19 as of 7:49 a.m. after the company reported third-quarter net profits of about $1.2 billion, down 4 percent from the prior-year period.

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