Jan. 27, 2021, 6:48 a.m. EST

GlaxoSmithKline, Lilly, Vir in COVID therapy pact

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By Ian Walker

GlaxoSmithKline PLC said Wednesday that it is partnering with Eli Lilly & Co. and Vir Biotechnology Inc. to evaluate a combination of two Covid-19 therapies in low-risk patients with mild-to-moderate symptoms of the virus.

Under the collaboration, Lilly has expanded a trial of its Bamlanivimab antibody to include Vir and Glaxo's VIR-7831 monoclonal antibody.

Bamlanivimab is a neutralizing antibody directed against the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2, designed to block viral attachment and entry into human cells, and therefore neutralize the virus.

Vir and Glaxo's VIR-7831 antibody drug has the potential to both block viral entry into healthy cells and clear infected cells, as well as provide a high barrier to resistance, the companies said.

Lilly's Chief Scientific Officer Daniel Skovronsky said that trials of Bamlanivimab have demonstrated "robust evidence" for both treating and preventing Covid-19.

"Despite the significant progress on vaccines, there remains an urgent patient need for multiple therapeutic approaches to help prevent the severe consequences of Covid-19," Glaxo Chief Scientific Officer Dr. Hal Barron said.

Lilly's Bamlanivimab on its own has already been authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for treating people sick with mild-to-moderate Covid-19 cases. Vir and Glaxo's VIR-7831 is being evaluated in two late-stage trials for treatment of hospitalized patients and as an early treatment in adults at high risk of hospitalization.

Write to Ian Walker at ian.walker@wsj.com

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