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INDIANAPOLIS and VANCOUVER, BC — Eli Lilly is partnering with biotechnology company AbCellera to co-develop antibody therapies for the treatment and prevention of COVID-19.

According to a press release from Eli Lilly, after receiving a blood sample from a U.S. patient who had recovered from COVID-19, AbCellera screened over 5 million immune cells to search for ones that could produce antibodies that would neutralize the disease.

In doing so, AbCellera found over 500 unique antibody sequences, which is the largest panel of these specific antibodies ever reported. According to Carl Hansen, Ph.D., CEO of AbCellera, AbCellera and Eli Lilly have moved into functional testing with global experts in virology, and signed a co-development agreement with one of the world’s leading biopharmaceutical companies.

“AbCellera has delivered … the world’s largest panel of anti-SAR-CoV-2 antibodies,” Hansen said. “Together, our teams are committed to delivering a countermeasure to stop the outbreak.”

Both Eli Lilly and AbCellera are partnering with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) to find the most effective antibodies in neutralizing the coronavirus. According to Daniel Skovronsky, M.D., Ph.D., Lilly’s Chief scientific officer and president of Lilly Research Laboratories, their goal is to test potential new therapies in patients within the next four months.

“We are moving at top speed to create a potential treatment to help patients,” Skovronsky said.

The agreement asks both AbCellera and Lilly to have committed to equally share initial development costs towards a product, after which Lilly will be responsible for all further development, manufacturing and distribution.

If successful, Lilly is ready to work with global regulators to bring a treatment to patients.