Indiana-based pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly announced on Monday 1 June that patients have been dosed in the world’s first study of a potential antibody treatment designed to fight COVID-19.
This investigational medicine, referred to as LY-CoV555, is the first to emerge from the collaboration between Lilly and AbCellera to create antibody therapies for the prevention and treatment of COVID-19.
Lilly scientists rapidly developed the antibody in just three months after AbCellera and the Vaccine Research Center at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) identified it from a blood sample taken from one of the first U.S. patients who recovered from COVID-19. LY-CoV555 is the first potential new medicine specifically designed to attack SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
LY-CoV555 is designed to target the spike-shaped protein structures of the virus and block it from locking on to human cells, thus neutralizing the bug, potentially preventing and treating COVID-19.
Lilly intends to test this first antibody as well as other neutralizing antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 over the next several months. The company also intends on testing both single antibody therapy as well as combinations of Lilly antibodies (sometimes known as antibody cocktails) as potential therapeutics for COVID-19.
“We are grateful to collaborate with colleagues at AbCellera, NIAID, and the many academic institutions who have helped us reach this milestone in humanity’s fight against COVID-19 — a disease first characterized only six months ago. We are privileged to help usher in this new era of drug development with the first potential new medicine specifically designed to attack the virus,” said Daniel Skovronsky, M.D., Ph.D., Lilly’s chief scientific officer and president of Lilly Research Laboratories.