U.S. HHS and DoD will pay $375 million to buy 300,000 doses of bamlanivimab 700 mg from Eli Lilly and Co. (NYSE:LLY) as part of Operation Warp Speed initiatives to stockpile experimental COVID-19 treatments for distribution, pending FDA authorization.
HHS plans to allocate 300,000 doses of the monoclonal antibody immediately, according to an announcement from HHS.
The drug has shown promise when it comes to treating mild-to-moderate COVID-19 infections, but the NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases yesterday ended a clinical trial involving severe cases after it showed little benefit from the therapy.
“This agreement with Eli Lilly is part of Operation Warp Speed’s efforts to position the federal government to distribute potential therapeutics, allowing faster distribution if trials are successful,” HHS Secretary Alex Azar said in a news release out today.
The federal government under the agreement could purchase up to 650,000 additional doses of the Lilly antibody therapy, also known as LY-CoV555, through the end of June 2021 at the cost of an additional $812.5 million.
Researchers created the bamlanivimab antibody therapeutic after identifying a monoclonal antibody in a blood sample taken from one of the first U.S. patients who recovered from COVID-19. The drug is being evaluated in Phase 3 clinical trials funded by the company in addition to clinical trials that are part of the NIH-led Accelerating COVID-19 Therapeutic Interventions and Vaccines (ACTIV) public-private partnership.
This article was originally published on Oct. 28, and updated on Nov. 10.