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Eli Lilly Begins Phase III Trial of Antibody Against Covid-19

Lilly's drug, which it is testing in nursing homes and assisted-living facilities, is the lead antibody from its collaboration with AbCellera.

Eli Lilly  (LLY) - Get Eli Lilly and Company (LLY) Report said that it began a Phase III trial within nursing homes and assisted-living facilities of a neutralizing antibody to prevent the virus that causes covid 19 .

The Indianapolis health-care giant said that the drug, LY-CoV555, is the lead antibody from its collaboration with AbCellera, the closely held Vancouver provider of a drug-discovery platform.

Lilly is partnering with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, a division of the U.S. National Institutes of Health, on the program. Immunologist Anthony Fauci directs the Niaid. 

Shares of Lilly were rising 1.7% to $152.78 on Monday morning. 

Several long-term-care facilities across the U.S. are participating in the trial, Lilly said.

Covid has devastated nursing-home residents, and conducting clinical trials within such facilities is challenging, notes Daniel Skovronski, a physician who is Lily's chief scientific officer and president of Lilly Research Labs.

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The clinical trials will enroll residents and staff who live or work in facilities that have a recently diagnosed case of covid-19 and who are now at a high risk of exposure, the company said. 

The study aims to determine whether a single dose of LY-CoV555 "reduces the rate of SARS-CoV-2 infection through four weeks as well as complications of covid-19 through eight weeks," the company said. 

Lilly expects to enroll as many as 2,400 people in the study. Enrollment is estimated to be completed in September. Initial data should be available soon thereafter and full data in the fourth quarter. 

In earlier studies, LY-CoV555 "has been well tolerated at all doses tested and no drug-related severe adverse events have been observed to date," the company said.

The antibody is designed to block the virus from attaching to and entering human cells, thus neutralizing it and potentially preventing and treating covid-19, Lilly said.

AbCellera discovered the antibody and Lilly scientists developed it. It was tested by scientists at the Niaid Vaccine Research Center, Lilly said.

Lily is using customized mobile research units support to support the on-site study, including RVs to support mobile labs and preparation of trial materials as well as trailer trucks to deliver supplies.