received government authorization Monday night to sell an antibody treatment for Covid-19 patients. It is just the first of several such infusions from Lilly and rivals including
that will become bridging remedies while the world waits to get vaccinated. Sales of the $1,250 treatments will also help Lilly bridge gaps that Covid opened in its revenue this year.
In early trading Tuesday, Lilly stock (ticker: LLY) was up 3.4% to $147.21. Regeneron (REGN) has also sought emergency authorization for a cocktail of Covid antibodies. Its shares were down 1.3% to $560. The
Dow Jones Industrial Average
was up 0.5%.
Covid cases are surging again and clinical trials have shown that the artificial antibodies help keep patients with moderate cases of the illness out of the hospital, if the infusions are given within 10 days of diagnosis. President Donald Trump got Regeneron’s antibodies after he came down with Covid. But the antibodies haven’t worked well for sicker patients already hospitalized.
Emergency-use authorizations from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration aren’t full approvals, but they allow sales of an experimental treatment during national medical emergencies. Lilly and Regeneron are running clinical trials of various antibody combinations, which they hope will ultimately lead to regular approvals from the FDA.
Lilly will immediately start shipping to distributor
(ABC). The federal government has bought 300,000 doses of Lilly’s treatment and will supply it at no cost to high-risk patients. Even before Lilly knew whether the antibodies would work and get authorized, it scaled up manufacturing. It expects to make up to one million doses this year, and aims to add manufacturing resources in 2021.
Vaccination will curtail the need for these antibodies, and other treatments like the antiviral remdesivir that
(GILD) sells under the brand name Veklury, but widespread immunity could take a year after the authorization of vaccines from the likes of
Including the $375 million of antibodies already purchased by the U.S. government, the product could bring $1.25 billion in sales to Lilly this year, Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Louise Chen estimates. Not all of this was included in the company’s guidance for as much as $24.2 billion in 2020 revenue, she figures, so the Covid remedy could give Lilly a boost that offsets other revenue lost to the year’s Covid lockdowns. Chen thinks the company could sell well more than a million more doses in 2021, for another $1.25 billion revenue boost.
She rates Lilly stock at Overweight, with a price target of $185.
Write to Bill Alpert at [email protected]