U.S. Ends Deal for Lilly Single Antibody to Focus on Combo

Eli Lilly & Co. said U.S. health officials canceled a deal for doses of its single antibody drug for Covid-19 to focus on the drugmaker’s combination treatment.

The U.S. government terminated its agreement for 350,856 remaining doses of bamlanivimab, the single antibody, that were scheduled to be delivered by the end of March 2021, Lilly said Monday in a statement. Their agreement was modified to focus on the supply of the combination of that drug and etesevimab, another antibody against the coronavirus.

Health officials in three states have restricted use of Lilly’s single antibody because of possible reduced effectiveness against a new variant circulating in California. Dual antibody doses -- including a combination antibody treatment from Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. -- are considered less likely to encounter resistance from new viral strains.

Lilly’s shares fell 1.2% to $182.35 at 9:47 a.m. in New York Trading.

The U.S. has billions of dollars in agreements for the antibody treatments, which have received emergency use authorization for patients in the early stages of infection to keep them from becoming more severely ill and hospitalized.

Lilly’s agreement with the government has been changed “to enable the supply of etesevimab to complement doses of bamlanivimab the U.S. government already purchased, some of which have already been delivered to sites of care,” according to the statement.

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