Eli Lilly Drug Fails in COVID-19 hospitalization trials

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Eli Lilly said its investigational monoclonal antibody bamlanivimab — one of the agents used in treating former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, has failed to improve outcomes in hospitalized COVID-19 patients. The ACTIV-3 clinical trial is being run by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and is the only study evaluating the efficacy of bamlanivimab in hospitalized COVID-19 patients.

In a prepared statement, the company said that based on an updated dataset from the trial reviewed on October 26, no additional COVID-19 patients in this hospitalized setting will receive bamlanivimab. This recommendation was based on trial data suggesting that bamlanivimab is unlikely to help hospitalized COVID-19 patients recover from this advanced stage of their disease. In this updated dataset, differences in safety outcomes between the groups were not significant.

Lily stated that all other studies of bamlanivimab remain ongoing, including ACTIV-2, the NIH-sponsored study in recently diagnosed mild to moderate COVID-19 patients; BLAZE-1, Lilly’s ongoing Phase 2 trial in people recently diagnosed with COVID-19 in the ambulatory (non-hospitalized) setting, studying bamlanivimab as monotherapy and in combination with etesevimab; and BLAZE-2, Lilly’s Phase 3 study of bamlanivimab for the prevention (prophylaxis) of COVID-19 in residents and staff at long-term care facilities. Based on data from BLAZE-1, Lilly submitted a request for EUA for bamlanivimab for the treatment of recently diagnosed mild to moderate COVID-19 illness in high-risk patients to the U.S. FDA in early October.

The statement concluded that while there was insufficient evidence that bamlanivimab improved clinical outcomes when added to other treatments in hospitalized patients with COVID-19, we remain confident based on data from Lilly’s BLAZE-1 study that bamlanivimab monotherapy may prevent progression of the disease for those earlier in the course of COVID-19.