SHANGHAI, China, Feb. 27, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Junshi Biosciences (HKEX: 1877; SSE: 688180), a leading innovation-driven biopharmaceutical company dedicated to the discovery, development and commercialization of novel therapies, announced today that the U.S. government has agreed to purchase a minimum of 100,000 doses of etesevimab (JS016 or LY-CoV016) 1400 mg and bamlanivimab (LY-CoV555) 700 mg together, according to the company’s global partner Eli Lilly and Company (NYSE: LLY). Etesevimab and bamlanivimab together recently received emergency use authorization for the treatment of recently diagnosed, mild to moderate COVID-19 in patients who are at high risk of progressing to severe COVID-19 and/or hospitalization. Additionally, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) recently updated the COVID-19 Treatment Guidelines to recommend the use of bamlanivimab plus etesevimab for the treatment of outpatients with mild to moderate COVID-19 who are at high risk of clinical progression.
The agreement is for $210 million and doses will be delivered through March 31, 2021. The U.S. government will have the option to purchase up to an additional 1,100,000 doses through November 25, 2021, under the same terms as the base agreement and subject to agreement from Lilly, product availability and the medical need in the U.S. The government has said it will provide neutralizing antibodies at no out-of-pocket cost to patients, although healthcare facilities may charge a fee for the product’s administration. The federal government directs the distribution of etesevimab and bamlanivimab together.
Etesevimab (JS016 or LY-CoV016) is a recombinant fully human monoclonal neutralizing antibody, which specifically binds to the SARS-CoV-2 surface spike protein receptor binding domain with high affinity and can block the binding of the virus to the ACE2 host cell surface receptor. Point mutations were introduced into the native human IgG1 antibody to mitigate effector function. Lilly licensed etesevimab from Junshi Biosciences after it was jointly developed by Junshi Biosciences and the Institute of Microbiology, Chinese Academy of Science (IMCAS). Junshi Biosciences leads development in Greater China, while Lilly leads development in the rest of the world.
Lilly has successfully completed a Phase 1 study (NCT04441931) of etesevimab in healthy U.S. volunteers to evaluate the safety, tolerability, pharmacokinetics and immunogenicity. A Phase 2/3 study in people recently diagnosed with COVID-19 in the ambulatory setting (BLAZE-1, NCT04427501) is ongoing. Junshi Biosciences has completed a similar Phase 1 study in healthy volunteers in China and has initiated Phase 1b/2 trials in COVID-19 patients globally.
Bamlanivimab is a recombinant, neutralizing human IgG1 monoclonal antibody (mAb) directed against the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2. It is designed to block viral attachment and entry into human cells, thus neutralizing the virus, potentially treating COVID-19. Bamlanivimab emerged from the collaboration between Lilly and AbCellera to create antibody therapies for the prevention and treatment of COVID-19. Lilly scientists rapidly developed the antibody in less than three months after it was discovered by AbCellera and the scientists at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Vaccine Research Center. It was identified from a blood sample taken from one of the first U.S. patients who recovered from COVID-19.
Lilly has successfully completed a Phase 1 study of bamlanivimab in hospitalized patients with COVID-19 (NCT04411628). A Phase 2/3 study in people recently diagnosed with COVID-19 in the ambulatory setting (BLAZE-1, NCT04427501) is ongoing, and results from the Phase 2 cohorts of BLAZE-1 were published in the New England Journal of Medicine and The Journal of the American Medical Association. A Phase 3 study of bamlanivimab alone or bamlanivimab and etesevimab together in residents and staff at long-term care facilities (BLAZE-2, NCT04497987) is also ongoing. In addition, bamlanivimab is being tested in the National Institutes of Health-led ACTIV-2 study in ambulatory COVID-19 patients.
About Junshi Biosciences
Founded in December 2012, Junshi Biosciences (HK: 1877; SH: 688180) is an innovation-driven biopharmaceutical company dedicated to the discovery, development and commercialization of innovative therapeutics. The company has established a diversified R & D pipeline comprising 28 innovative drug candidates and 2 biosimilars, with five therapeutic focus areas covering cancer, autoimmune, metabolic, neurological, and infectious diseases. Junshi Biosciences was the first Chinese pharmaceutical company that obtained marketing approval for anti-PD-1 monoclonal antibody in China. Its first-in-human anti-BTLA antibody for solid tumors was the first in the world to be approved for clinical trials by the FDA and NMPA and its anti-PCSK9 monoclonal antibody was the first in China to be approved for clinical trials by the NMPA. In early 2020, Junshi Biosciences joined forces with the Institute of Microbiology Chinese Academy of Science and Eli Lilly to co-develop JS016 (etesevimab), China’s first neutralizing fully human monoclonal antibody against SARS-CoV-2. JS016 administered with bamlanivimab has received Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) by US FDA in Feb 2021 for the treatment of recently diagnosed, mild to moderate COVID-19 in patients who are at high risk of progressing to severe COVID-19 and/or hospitalization. The JS016 program is a part of our continuous innovation for disease control and prevention of the global pandemic. Junshi Biosciences has over 2,000 employees in the United States (San Francisco and Maryland) and China (Shanghai, Suzhou, Beijing and Guangzhou). For more information, please visit: http://junshipharma.com.
About Eli Lilly and Company
Lilly is a global healthcare leader that unites caring with discovery to create medicines that make life better for people around the world. We were founded more than a century ago by a man committed to creating high-quality medicines that meet real needs, and today we remain true to that mission in all our work. Across the globe, Lilly employees work to discover and bring life-changing medicines to those who need them, improve the understanding and management of disease, and give back to communities through philanthropy and volunteerism. To learn more about Lilly, please visit us at www.lilly.com and www.
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