Eli Lilly (LLY) - Get Report on Wednesday said that its experimental antibody, Y-CoV555, reduced the need for hospitalization and emergency-room visits among patients with moderate coronavirus, according to interim data from a midstage clinical trial.
Shares of the Indianapolis health-care giant at last check were 1.3% higher at $152.
The company said that LY-CoV555 was well-tolerated, and no drug-related serious adverse effects were reported.
The trial enrolled mild-to-moderate recently diagnosed COVID-19 patients across four groups.
Eli Lilly said the rate of hospitalization and emergency-room visits was 1.7% for patients taking the drug, while the rate for patients taking the placebo was 6%.
Most patients, Eli Lilly said, including those receiving placebo, demonstrated near complete viral clearance by the 11th day.
Additional analyses of viral data demonstrated that LY-CoV555 improved viral clearance at an earlier time point, the third day, and reduced the proportion of patients with persistently high viral load at later time points.
Daniel Skovronsky, the company's chief scientific officer and president of Lilly Research Laboratories, said in a statement that the interim data "suggest that LY-CoV555, an antibody specifically directed against SARS-CoV-2, has a direct antiviral effect and may reduce covid-related hospitalizations."
"The results reinforce our conviction that neutralizing antibodies can help in the fight against covid-19," Skovronsky said.
Most study hospitalizations occurred in patients with underlying risk factors, such as age or body-mass index, the company said. This suggested a more pronounced treatment effect for patients in these higher-risk groups.
Eli Lilly said ongoing studies will seek to confirm this finding. Across all treatment groups, including the placebo group, no patients progressed to mechanical ventilation or died.
The company said it intends to quickly publish the results of the interim analysis in a peer-reviewed journal and discuss appropriate next steps with global regulators.