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Vir Biotech, GlaxoSmithKline Get U.S. $1B Pact for Covid Treatment

Vir and Glaxo have developed a monoclonal antibody Covid treatment that the U.S. is purchasing.
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Shares of Vir Biotechnology  (VIR) - Get Vir Biotechnology, Inc. Report jumped Wednesday after the compa said it and U.K. partner GlaxoSmithKline  (GSK) - Get GlaxoSmithKline Plc Report signed U.S. government contracts valued at about $1 billion for a Covid-19 treatment. 

The U.S. government has contracts to purchase sotrovimab, an investigational monoclonal antibody for the early treatment of Covid-19. 

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration in May 2021 granted emergency use authorization for the drug. 

Shares of Vir at last check jumped 9.2% to $36.50 while Glaxo American depositary receipts fell 0.8% to $42.13. 

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"Monoclonal antibodies play an essential role in the treatment of certain patients with Covid-19 and ... this agreement will allow more health-care providers and patients who are at high risk for progression to severe Covid-19 to access sotrovimab," Vir Chief Executive George Scangos said in a statement. 

In June, GSK and Vir announced confirmatory full results for the Phase 3 trial of the treatment. The results showed a 79% reduction in hospitalizations for more than 24 hours or death due to any cause by Day 29 compared with a placebo. 

The trial showed that intramuscular administration of sotrovimab was "non-inferior" to IV administration for the early treatment of mild-to-moderate Covid-19 in high risk, non-hospitalized adults and adolescents ages 12 and older. 

“Given the large number of patients who continue to become ill with Covid-19 across many regions in the U.S., there is an ongoing need for access to effective treatments," GSK CEO Hal Barron said in a statement.