- More than 750,000 treatments insured worldwide
- US delivery expected in mid-December
- US approved emergency drug use in May
Nov. 17 (Reuters) – The United States has signed contracts worth about $1 billion to secure the antibody-based COVID-19 treatment developed by Britain’s GSK (GSK.L) and US-based Vir Biotechnology (VIR.O), the drug makers said on Wednesday.
GSK said the deal brought the total number of secured doses for the treatment, sotrovimab, to more than 750,000 worldwide, adding that delivery was expected by December 17. The United States would have an option to purchase additional doses through March 2022.
The companies did not specify how many doses the US government had signed up for. However, other deals include 10,000 doses for Canada and up to 220,000 doses for the European Union.
Sotrovimab is approved for emergency use in the United States to help prevent mild or moderate cases of COVID-19 from worsening. The European Medicines Agency has given the green light for use by Member States, although approval across the EU is still pending.
Treatment has been shown to reduce the risk of hospitalization or death by 79% in adults with mild to moderate COVID-19.
While vaccines remain at the heart of the fight against COVID-19, treatments, including oral antiviral pills, offer options to contain infection.
Last week, partners GSK and Vir said a trial has shown that the drug also works when given as an injection into the arm when given through the standard infusion, potentially offering greater convenience. read more
“Given the ongoing evidence showing its ability to maintain activity against the tested circulating variants of care, including Delta, we are confident that sotrovimab will remain important,” Vir Chief Executive George Scangos said in a statement.
The treatment, dubbed Xevudy, had delivered GSK £130 million ($175 million) in sales in the first nine months of 2021.
Similar products are offered or developed by Eli Lilly (LLY.N), Regeneron (REGN.O) and AstraZeneca (AZN.L).
($1 = 0.7427 pounds)
Reporting by Pushkala Aripaka in Bengaluru; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips and Edmund Blair
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