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What Should Investors Know About Eli Lilly’s Coronavirus Antibody Treatments?

In this Fool Live video, Healthcare and Cannabis Bureau Chief Corinne Cardina and longtime Motley Fool contributor Brian Orelli discuss Eli Lilly‘s (NYSE:LLY) monoclonal antibodies that target the novel coronavirus, which causes COVID-19. The company has a pair of antibodies, LY-CoV555 and LY-CoV016 that it’s testing individually and in combination with each other. After the segment was recorded, a phase 3 clinical trial testing LY-CoV555 was paused by the National Institutes of Health, which is running the study.

Corinne Cardina: Let’s talk about Eli Lilly. This company is the oldest of them all. It is 145 years old. It has a $145 billion market cap. It’s based in Indianapolis. Eli Lilly has a portfolio of medicines including treatments in bone, muscle, joint, cancer, cardiovascular, diabetes, endocrine, immunology, neurodegeneration, neuroscience, and pain. That’s a mouthful. They do a lot. They’ve been around for a long time.

In the second quarter of fiscal 2020, their revenue was $5.5 billion, down 2% from the same quarter the prior year. This stock also pays a dividend yielding about 2%. Eli Lilly has a neutralizing monoclonal antibody. They are calling it LY-CoV555. They call this a potent neutralizing immunoglobulin G, which is a type of monoclonal antibody, and it is directed at the spike protein of coronavirus that we just talked about. This was designed to block viral attachment and entry into human cells which would neutralize the virus, potentially prevent, and treat COVID-19.

On Sep. 16, they released proof of concept data from an interim analysis of the phase 2 clinical trial. This showed a reduced rate of hospitalization for patients who were treated with this treatment. Eli Lilly has completed enrollment and the primary safety assessments of the treatment in a phase 1 study of hospitalized patients with COVID-19 and they’re doing an ongoing long-term follow-up. A phase 2 study in people recently diagnosed with COVID-19 is going on on an outpatient basis, so the non-hospitalized patients.

Lilly recently initiated a phase 3 study for the prevention of COVID-19 specifically in residents and staff at long-term care facilities. There’s a big need there, as we know. Then lastly, the treatment is being tested in the National Institutes of Health studies of outpatient and hospitalized patients. On Wednesday, Eli Lilly announced that they had promising data for the combination of this treatment with another of their neutralizing antibody which is LY-CoV016. The company also said that it has asked the FDA for an emergency-use authorization for the initial one, 555. It plans to submit a request for an emergency-use authorization for the combination treatment next month after it gets some more safety data and it has to produce a sufficient supply. This is the second antibody that we’ve talked about. GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE:GSK) and Vir Biotechnology¬†(NASDAQ:VIR) are partnered on one as well. Brian, could you explain what is a neutralizing antibody and how do these treatments differ?

Brian Orelli: Yes. A neutralizing antibody means that the antibody binds to the virus

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