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Eli Lilly CEO Talks Coronavirus Treatment Progress: 'This Is An Important Bridge Therapy'

Eli Lilly CEO Talks Coronavirus Treatment Progress: 'This Is An Important Bridge Therapy'

Drugmaker Eli Lilly And Co (NYSE: LLY) started a human study of a potential antibody treatment for COVID-19 patients, and CEO David Ricks said on Fox Business that it is the first of its kind.

Lilly's Brand New Medicine

Eli Lilly's medicine to treat COVID-19 patients is the first of its kind, as it consists of antibodies found in a recovered patient's cells. In contrast, other drugs and therapies are merely "repurposed" from other uses, Ricks said.

Eli Lilly scientists collaborated with Canada-based AbCellera to engineer a treatment out of the "very best one or two" antibodies it can find out of millions of cells, the CEO said. The initial study will consist of less than 40 patients, and results are expected in a "couple of weeks," he said. 

Lilly's Production Timeline

Eli Lilly has already started the process of ramping up production for its hopeful therapy despite it being in the early stages of testing, Ricks said.

The company expects to produce 100,000 or more doses that will be available in the fall, the CEO said.

During the pandemic's peak, there were around 60,000 people in a hospital in the U.S., so 100,000 could treat every person, he said.

Important Treatment Before Vaccine

Eli Lilly wants to study how its medicine can be used to treat people to avoid the need of going to a hospital in the first place as part of an ambulatory treatment study.

The company also wants to explore later on in the summer months how its treatment can be used among those most at risk and vulnerable.

"This is an important bridge therapy until a vaccination could arrive and even perhaps vaccination this kind of therapy could find an important use," the CEO said.

Lilly shares were trading down slightly at $152.86 at the time of publication Monday.

Related Links:

Moderna Doses First Participants In Phase 2 Study Of Coronavirus Vaccine

53% Of Americans 'Very Likely' To Get Coronavirus Vaccine, Rasmussen Reports

Eli Lilly CEO David Ricks. Benzinga file photo by Dustin Blitchok. 


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