Lilly, AbCellera To Develop Antibody Therapeutics Against COVID-19
Eli Lilly and Company and AbCellera, a Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada-based biopharmaceutical company, have formed an agreement to co-develop antibody products for the treatment and prevention of COVID-19, the disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 novel coronavirus.
The collaboration will use AbCellera’s rapid pandemic response platform, developed under the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s Pandemic Prevention Platform (P3) Program, a US government research program designed to accelerate discovery, integration, preclinical testing, and manufacturing of medical countermeasures against infectious diseases, and Lilly’s global capabilities for rapid development, manufacturing and distribution of therapeutic antibodies.
Under the terms of the agreement, Lilly and AbCellera have committed to equally share initial development costs towards a product, after which Lilly will be responsible for all further development, manufacturing and distribution.
AbCellera has identified over 500 unique fully human antibody sequences from a blood sample from a recovered COVID-19 patient. These antibodies will be screened to find the ones most effective in neutralizing SARS-CoV-2. Many of these antibodies will be expressed in collaboration with the Vaccine Research Center at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, and pending agreement with NIAID will be tested for their ability to neutralize the virus.
In a separate development, scientists at Lilly are partnering with the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH), with support from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), to accelerate testing in Indiana for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
Lilly will use its specialized research laboratories to analyze samples taken in Indiana healthcare facilities, including nursing homes and emergency rooms. Assuming the company can continuously access required diagnostic reagents, this should start to expand the state’s ability to conduct testing and receive a timely diagnosis of individuals who suspect they may be carrying the virus. As Lilly’s testing capacity expands, Lilly and ISDH will work together to maximize the impact of broader testing.
In addition, Lilly is piloting drive-through testing that may eventually be able to test patients outside of a healthcare facility to avoid spread of the virus. The company hopes to have additional details in the coming days. Lilly says it will not accept money from government agencies, hospitals, insurance companies or patients for conducting or analyzing tests.