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Eli Lilly, Junshi Biosciences To Conduct Phase 1 Study In China And US For SARS-CoV-2 Antibody

Eli Lilly and Co. (LLY) announced Monday that its Shanghai-based partner Junshi Biosciences has dosed the first healthy volunteer in a study of a potential neutralizing antibody treatment designed to fight COVID-19.

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 neutralizing antibody to start clinical trials, following LY-CoV555 that recently entered Phase 1 and is currently being tested in hospitalized COVID-19 patients.

JS016 is a recombinant fully human monoclonal neutralizing antibody, which has been modified to diminish effector function. JS016 specifically binds to the SARS-CoV-2 surface spike protein receptor binding domain and can effectively block the binding of viruses to the ACE2 host cell surface receptor.

In early May, Junshi and Eli Lilly entered into an agreement to co-develop therapeutic antibodies for the potential prevention and treatment of COVID-19, the disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 novel coronavirus.

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