United States drugmaker pauses coronavirus antibody treatment for 'safety reasons'

Eli Lilly pauses COVID-19 antibody trial due to safety concern

Eli Lilly pauses trial of antibody drug Trump touted as Covid-19 ‘cure’ over safety concern

Eli Lilly's late-stage clinical trial of a monoclonal antibody treatment for COVID-19 has been paused by federal regulators due a safety concern, the company said Tuesday. The treatment was halted due to a safety concern, leading the USA equity market to deepen losses.

Lilly shares were down almost 3 percent amid the news on Tuesday, with the COVID-19 vaccine setback weighing on Wall Street.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside of Japan.MIAPJ0000PUS fell 0.2 percent.

The use of antibodies to treat COVID-19 made headlines in the past week after President Trump said he received an antibody cocktail from Regeneron, and touted it as a "miracle" and a "cure".

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It was not immediately clear whether the pause would affect other clinical trials that Lilly is running for Covid-19, for example among patients with mild to moderate forms of the disease or as a potential prophylaxis.

Trials of that vaccine resumed in other regions after a brief halt. The BLAZE-1 trial is testing the monotherapy and the combination therapy in patients with early symptoms of Covid-19 who have not been hospitalized.

Monoclonal antibodies are lab-generated versions of one of the human body's main defenses against pathogens.

Just last week, Trump promised to get both Regeneron and Eli Lilly's drug approved "urgently".

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Lilly didn't disclose any details about the safety concern or how many people are affected.

It is administered intravenously by drip. "It's not at all unusual for unexpected illnesses (to occur) in large studies over their duration", Mammen said in a conference call. The final stage of J&J's trial had started recruiting participants in late September, with a goal of enrolling volunteers across more than 200 United States and global locations.

The Johnson & Johnson Phase 3 trial of its Janssen COVID-19 vaccine candidate involves an anticipated 60,000 adults in multiple countries, testing the safety and efficacy of a single dose versus a placebo. At close of trading, J&J was down 2.3 percent while Lilly was down 2.9 percent.

Lilly serves as the primary sponsor on that trial, collaborating with its co-developer on the LY-CoV555 antibody therapy, Canadian biotech AbCellera Biologics Inc.

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