AstraZeneca, US ink $486M deal for COVID-19 antibody drug

HHS will pay pharma giant AstraZeneca $486 million to secure as many as 100,000 doses of its experimental COVID-19 antibody drug, as well as support clinical trials for the treatment.

The department announced the deal Oct. 9 as part of Operation Warp Speed, the White House’s task force to rapidly develop COVID-19 vaccines and treatments.

AstraZeneca’s treatment, named AZD7442, comprises a combination of antibody drugs, employing a formula similar to Regeneron’s antibody cocktail that was recently given to President Donald Trump. Both Regeneron and Eli Lilly have sought emergency approval from the FDA for their antibody treatments.

“This agreement with the U.S. government will help accelerate the development of our long-acting antibody combination which has the potential to provide immediate and long-lasting effect in both preventing and treating COVID-19 infections,” AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot said in a news release. “We will be evaluating the LAAB combination in different settings from prophylaxis, to outpatient treatment to hospitalization, with a focus on helping the most vulnerable people.”

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