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Amgen, Lilly Join For COVID-19

Biopharma giants Amgen Inc. and Eli Lilly earlier this month announced an antibody manufacturing collaboration for potential COVID-19 treatments, in an effort to scale up production for multiple treatments still in development.The collaboration between Thousand Oaks-based Amgen and Lilly, headquartered in Indianapolis, will significantly boost global supply capacity for Lilly’s COVID treatments, the companies said.Among those in development is LY-CoV-555, Lilly’s leading antibody treatment from another collaboration with Vancouver-based AbCellera. The virus-neutralizing antibody treatment entered Phase 3 clinical trials to combat the virus at nursing homes, according to an Aug. 3 statement from Lilly. The same treatment is in Phase 2 trials for COVID patients with mild-to-moderate symptoms.Another Lilly antibody treatment, LY-CoV016, is in Phase 1 trials and the result of yet another collaboration, this time with China’s Junshi Biosciences. The final notable Lilly antibody treatment focuses on treating COVID patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome, currently in Phase 2 clinical trials.“The level of cooperation among pharma companies in response to the pandemic is unprecedented,” remarked Dr. Laura Esserman, co-founder of Quantum Leap Healthcare Collaborative, a Bay Area nonprofit focused on matching clinical trials and sponsorship. Esserman made the comment in connection to yet another collaboration with multiple biopharma companies, including Amgen, to test its psoriasis drug Otezla on COVID patients experiencing respiratory problems.Should regulatory agencies around the world approve one or more of Lilly’s therapies, exponentially increasing manufacturing capacity is a crucial next step, Dr. Daniel Skoronsky, chief scientific officer at Lilly, said in a statement.“We are impressed with Lilly’s data, in particular the reduction in hospitalizations, and are enthusiastic about the potential for these neutralizing antibodies as a therapeutic for COVID-19,” Dr. David Reese, vice president of research and development at Amgen, said in a statement.“This is yet another example of the ways our industry is closely collaborating to combat this devastating disease and help patients around the world access new therapies,” said Esteban Santos, Amgen’s vice president of operations.

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