Lilly to test Olumiant, LY3127804 against COVID-19

Lilly has linked with health officials in the US to assess its rheumatoid arthritis drug Olumiant (baricitinib) in patients hospitalised with COVID-19.

In partnership with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), the firm will initially test the drug in a US trial, though this could be expanded to sites in Europe and Asia at a later date.

Baricitinib structure.svg

"There is an urgent need for new strategies to help hospitalised COVID-19 patients, many of whom will progress to respiratory failure," said Vincent Marconi, professor of medicine and global health at Emory University School of Medicine, one of the US sites for NIAID's ongoing Adaptive COVID-19 Treatment Trial.

"This NIAID study presents an important opportunity to test whether baricitinib can help these patients."

Results are expected within the next two months.

The US drugs giant is also advancing LY3127804, an investigational selective monoclonal antibody against Angiopoietin 2 (Ang2), to Phase II testing in pneumonia patients hospitalised with COVID-19 who are at a higher risk of progressing to acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS).

Ang2 is known to be elevated in ARDS patients and Lilly will test whether inhibiting the effects of Ang2 with a monoclonal antibody can reduce the progression to ARDS or the need for mechanical ventilation in COVID-19 patients.

This trial will begin later this month at several US sites, the firm noted.

14th April 2020

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