Eli Lilly and Co’s combination antibody-drug helped reduce the risk of hospitalization and death in COVID-19 patients by 70%, the drugmaker said on Tuesday, citing early data from a late-stage study.
Data from over 1,000 participants in the study testing a combination of bamlanivimab and etesevimab showed there were 11 COVID-19-related hospitalizations and deaths in patients treated with the therapy, compared with 36 in those on placebo, representing a 70% risk reduction, the company said.
Antibody therapies from both Lilly and rival Regeneron have so far seen lackluster demand as they require quick diagnosis and the isolation of infectious patients.
Lilly said it was hoping the trial data would add to existing clinical evidence that the combo can be an important treatment option for COVID-19 in the United States, where hospitalizations and deaths from the disease continue to rise.
One of the components, Bamlanivimab, has U.S. approval for emergency use in high-risk patients with mild to moderate COVID-19. The combo therapy is under review by U.S. drug regulators.
“We believe this data should support FDA Emergency Use Authorization for the combo and further boost Lilly’s 2021 sales and earnings,” Mizuho analyst Vamil Divan said.
The combination is expected to play an important role in treating patients over the next several months until the COVID-19 vaccines are more broadly administered, Divan said.
Lilly said the study had met both the main goal of reducing the risk of death and hospitalization and all key secondary goals, providing evidence that the therapy reduced viral load and sped up symptom resolution.
Another late-stage trial testing just bamlanivimab or with etesevimab in residents and staff at long-term care facilities is ongoing.