Lilly’s bamlanivimab and etesevimab together reduced hospitalizations and death in Phase 3 trial for early COVID-19
New data show therapy reduced risk of hospitalizations and death by 87 per cent
Second positive Phase 3 trial readout for bamlanivimab and etesevimab together
Results support use of bamlanivimab 700 mg and etesevimab 1400 mg, the dose authorized in U.S. and several countries around the world
TORONTO, ON March 15, 2021 – Eli Lilly and Company recently announced new data from the randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled BLAZE-1 Phase 3 study, demonstrating bamlanivimab (LY-CoV555) 700 mg and etesevimab (LY-CoV016) 1400 mg together significantly reduced COVID-19 related hospitalizations and deaths (“events”) in high-risk patients recently diagnosed with COVID-19. These results provide additional efficacy and safety data that support the use of the dose recently granted both Emergency Use Authorization by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and a positive scientific opinion by the European Medicines Agency's (EMA) Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP).
This new Phase 3 cohort of BLAZE-1 included 769 high-risk patients, aged 12 and older with mild to moderate COVID-19 (therapy: n=511; placebo: n=258). There were four events in patients taking bamlanivimab with etesevimab and 15 events in patients taking placebo, representing an 87 per cent risk reduction (p<0.0001). Bamlanivimab and etesevimab together also demonstrated statistically significant improvements on key secondary endpoints. These results are consistent with those seen in other data sets from BLAZE-1: in the previous Phase 3 cohort, bamlanivimab 2800 mg with etesevimab 2800 mg reduced the risk of hospitalizations and deaths by 70 per cent and in the Phase 2 cohort, bamlanivimab alone reduced the risk of hospitalizations and ER visits by approximately 70 per cent. The viral load reductions were also consistent with what was observed in the previous Phase 3 cohort of the study.
In this new Phase 3 cohort, there were four deaths total, all of which were deemed related to COVID-19 and all of which occurred in patients taking placebo; no deaths occurred in patients receiving treatment with bamlanivimab and etesevimab together. Across the two Phase 3 cohorts of the study that have been analyzed to date, there have been no deaths in patients receiving treatment with bamlanivimab and etesevimab together, and 14 deaths in patients receiving placebo, 13 of which were deemed COVID-19 related. In this data set, the safety profile of bamlanivimab and etesevimab together was consistent with observations from other Phase 1, Phase 2 and Phase 3 trials evaluating these antibodies.
“These positive results reinforce our previous findings and support the [FDA-authorized] dose of bamlanivimab 700 mg with etesevimab 1400 mg. These compelling data – in addition to the recent EUA from FDA, the CHMP decision from EMA and the recommendation for the therapy in the National Institutes of Health’s COVID-19 Treatment Guidelines – give healthcare providers additional information regarding the use of bamlanivimab and etesevimab together as a potentially life-saving treatment to help those most at risk for severe complications of COVID-19,” said Daniel Skovronsky, M.D., Ph.D., Lilly's chief scientific officer and president of Lilly Research Laboratories. “The consistent results observed in multiple cohorts of this trial over several months, even as new strains of COVID-19 have emerged, indicate bamlanivimab with etesevimab maintains its effects against a range of variants, particularly those circulating in the U.S.”
Lilly continues to engage with global regulators to make bamlanivimab alone and bamlanivimab and etesevimab together available around the world. Bamlanivimab alone and bamlanivimab with etesevimab together are authorized under special/emergency pathways, in the context of the pandemic, in the U.S. and the European Union. In addition, bamlanivimab alone is authorized for emergency use in Canada, Panama, Kuwait, the UAE, Israel, Rwanda, Morocco and numerous other countries. Through Lilly’s work with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Lilly is providing doses of bamlanivimab free of charge in Rwanda and Morocco.
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. 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.
Etesevimab (LY-CoV016, also known as JS016) 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.
BLAZE-1 (NCT04427501) is a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled Phase 2/3 study designed to assess the efficacy and safety of bamlanivimab alone or bamlanivimab and etesevimab together for the treatment of symptomatic COVID-19 in the outpatient setting. To be eligible, patients were required to have mild or moderate symptoms of COVID-19 as well as a positive SARS-CoV-2 test based on a sample collected no more than three days prior to drug infusion.
In the Phase 2 portion of BLAZE-1, cohorts of mild to moderate recently diagnosed COVID-19 patients, were randomized to one of three doses of bamlanivimab (700 mg, 2800 mg, and 7000 mg), bamlanivimab 2800 mg plus etesevimab 2800 mg, or placebo. 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.
In the Phase 3 portion of BLAZE-1, the combination therapy arms enrolled mild to moderate, recently diagnosed COVID-19 patients who are at high risk for progressing to severe COVID-19 and/or hospitalization, studying bamlanivimab 2800 mg plus etesevimab 2800 mg versus placebo, and bamlanivimab 700 mg plus etesevimab 1400 mg versus placebo. The primary outcome measure for the Phase 3 portion of the BLAZE-1 trial was the percentage of participants who experience COVID-related hospitalizations or death from any cause by day 29. The key secondary endpoints were change from baseline to day 7 in SARS-CoV-2 viral load, persistently high SARS-CoV-2 viral load on day 7, time to sustained symptom resolution, and COVID-related hospitalization, ER visit or death from any cause from baseline by day 29. Additional endpoints include change from baseline in viral load at other time points, symptom improvement, symptom resolution, as well as safety.
The study is ongoing with additional treatment arms.
About Lilly’s COVID-19 Efforts
Lilly is bringing the full force of its scientific and medical expertise to attack the coronavirus pandemic around the world. Existing Lilly medicines are being studied to understand their potential in treating complications of COVID-19, and the company is collaborating with partner companies to discover and develop novel antibody treatments for COVID-19. Lilly is testing both single antibody therapy as well as combinations of antibodies as potential therapeutics for COVID-19.
About Lilly Canada
Eli Lilly and Company is a global healthcare leader that unites caring with discovery to make life better for people around the world. We were founded more than a century ago by Colonel Eli Lilly, who was committed to creating high quality medicines that meet people’s needs, and today we remain true to that mission in all our work. Lilly employees work to discover and bring life-changing medicines to people who need them, improve the understanding and management of disease, and contribute to our communities through philanthropy and volunteerism.
Eli Lilly Canada was established in 1938, the result of a research collaboration with scientists at the University of Toronto which eventually produced the world’s first commercially available insulin. Our work focuses on oncology, diabetes, autoimmunity, neurodegeneration, and pain. To learn more about Lilly Canada, please visit us at www.lilly.ca.
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Lilly Cautionary Statement Regarding Forward-Looking Statements
This press release contains forward-looking statements (as that term is defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995) about bamlanivimab (LY-CoV555) alone or bamlanivimab and etesevimab (LY-CoV016) together as potential treatments for patients with COVID-19, as well as its supply and distribution, and reflects Lilly's current beliefs and expectations. However, as with any such undertaking, there are substantial risks and uncertainties in the process of drug development and commercialization. Among other things, there can be no guarantee that future study results will be consistent with the results to date, that bamlanivimab alone or bamlanivimab and etesevimab together will prove to be safe and effective treatments or successful preventative therapies for COVID-19, that bamlanivimab alone or bamlanivimab and etesevimab together will receive regulatory approvals or additional authorizations, or that Lilly can provide an adequate supply of bamlanivimab alone or bamlanivimab and etesevimab together in all circumstances. For a further discussion of these and other risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ from Lilly's expectations, please see Lilly's most recent Forms 10-K and 10-Q filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Lilly undertakes no duty to update forward-looking statements.