Lilly stays confident in possible COVID drug after setback

Coronavirus

FILE – In this May 2020 photo provided by Eli Lilly, researchers prepare cells to produce possible COVID-19 antibodies for testing in a laboratory in Indianapolis. The drug company says it has asked the U.S. government to allow emergency use of an experimental antibody therapy based on early results from a study suggesting the drug reduced symptoms, the amount of virus and hospitalizations and ER visits for patients with mild or moderate COVID-19. Eli Lilly and Company announced the partial results Wednesday, Oct. 7 in a news release; they have not yet been published or reviewed by independent scientists. Its drug is similar to one that President Donald Trump received on Friday, Oct. 2 from Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. (David Morrison/Eli Lilly via AP, File)

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – Eli Lilly continues to back a potential COVID-19 treatment despite research showing that it may not work on hospitalized patients.

The drugmaker said Tuesday it remains confident that its drug may stop COVID from developing in other patients. Researchers are still studying the drug in mild to moderately ill patients, to try to prevent hospitalization and severe illness.

U.S. government officials said Monday that they put an early end to a study testing the antibody drug in hospitalized patients because it doesn’t seem to be helping them.

Antibodies are proteins the body makes when an infection occurs; they attach to a virus and help it be eliminated.

Lilly shares tumbled in early-morning trading Tuesday after the company also laid out disappointing third-quarter results.

The drugmaker said its net income fell 4% to $1.21 billion, partly due to $125 in research and development costs for developing potential COVID-19 treatments.

Global revenue climbed 5% to $5.74 billion, and adjusted earnings totaled $1.54 per share.

Analysts expected, on average, earnings of $1.71 per share on $5.87 billion in revenue, according to FactSet.

Shares of Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly and Co. fell 4% to $136.01 before markets opened.

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