Eli Lilly and Company announced that its partner Junshi Biosciences has dosed the first healthy volunteer in a study of a potential neutralising COVID-19 antibody treatment.
The investigational medicine, referred to as JS016, is being co-developed by Junshi Biosciences and Lilly, with Junshi Biosciences leading development in Greater China.
Lilly has exclusive rights in the rest of the world and will begin dosing patients in a complementary Phase 1 study in the United States in the coming days.
Both Phase 1 studies aim to evaluate the safety, tolerability, pharmacokinetics and immunogenicity of JS016 in healthy participants who have not been diagnosed with COVID-19. This is Lilly’s second neutralising antibody to start clinical trials, following LY-CoV555 that recently entered Phase 1 and is currently being tested in hospitalised COVID-19 patients.
Lilly is planning a clinical development programme which includes a portfolio of monotherapy and combination antibody regimens (the latter often referred to as antibody “cocktails”) in order to understand which provide the best efficacy and tolerability in patients. These cocktails will include JS016, LY-CoV555, as well as additional antibodies currently in preclinical development. JS016 and LY-CoV555 bind different epitopes on the spike protein and thus expand the diversity of options for achieving efficacy and avoiding resistance.
“There is much we still don’t know about COVID-19,” said Daniel Skovronsky, M.D., Ph.D., Lilly’s Chief Scientific Officer and President of Lilly Research Laboratories. “The best path to learn more about the potential for neutralising antibodies, either as monotherapy or in combination, is through carefully controlled randomised trials. We look forward to the results of such trials in the coming months.”