Wednesday, 22 September 2021 12:40

EU Commission to buy up to 220,000 COVID anti-body treatments Featured


The European Commission has signed a joint procurement framework contract with the pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly for the supply of monoclonal antibody treatment for coronavirus patients.

Signed on Tuesday (21 September), the contract will provide the purchase of up to 220,000 treatments, involving 18 EU countries.

The product manufactured by Eli Lilly is a combination of two monoclonal antibodies (bamlanivimab and etesevimab) for the treatment of coronavirus patients who do not require oxygen but are at high risk of severe COVID-19.

Monoclonal antibodies are proteins conceived in the laboratory that mimic the immune system’s ability to fight the coronavirus. They fuse with the spike protein located on the outside of a coronavirus and thus block the virus’s attachment to the human cells.

This marks the latest development in this first portfolio of five promising therapeutics announced by the Commission under the EU COVID-19 Therapeutics Strategy in June 2021. The medicine is currently under rolling review by the European Medicines Agency.

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“With today’s signature, we conclude our third procurement and deliver on our commitment under the EU Therapeutics Strategy to facilitate access to state-of-the-art medicines for COVID-19 patients,” said Stella Kyriakides, the EU’s health commissioner.

Tuesday’s joint procurement contract follows a contract signed with Roche for the product REGN-COV2, a combination of Casirivimab and Imdevimab, on 31 March, and a contract with Glaxo Smith Kline signed on 27 July for the supply of sotrovimab (VIR-7831), developed in collaboration with VIR biotechnology.

While vaccination remains the strongest asset both against the virus and its variants, therapeutics play a critical role in the COVID-19 response. They help to save lives, speed up recovery time, reduce the length of hospitalisation and ultimately ease the burden of health care systems.

“Vaccines cannot be our only response to COVID-19. People still continue to be infected and fall ill. We need to continue our work to prevent illness with vaccines and at the same time ensure that we can treat it with therapeutics,” Kyriakides said.

Under the EU Joint Procurement Agreement, the European Commission has so far concluded nearly 200 contracts for different medical countermeasures with a cumulative value of over €12 billion.

EU Commission to buy over 200,000 COVID anti-body treatments

The European Commission has signed a joint procurement framework contract for the supply of a newly developed COVID-19 therapeutic currently under rolling review by the European Medicines Agency (EMA).

Under the joint procurement framework contract concluded with Eli Lilly, EU countries can purchase the combination product bamlanivimab and etesevimab if and when needed, once it has received either a conditional marketing authorisation at the EU level from the European Medicines Agency or an emergency use authorisation in the member state concerned.

The EU Strategy on COVID-19 Therapeutics, adopted in May, aims to build a broad portfolio of COVID-19 therapeutics with the goal of having three new therapeutics available by October 2021 and possibly two more by the end of the year.

It covers the full lifecycle of medicines from research, development, selection of promising candidates, fast regulatory approval, manufacturing and deployment to final use. It will also coordinate, scale up and make sure that the EU acts together in securing access to therapeutics via joint procurements.

EU revives coordinated approach in purchasing COVID drugs

The European Commission has unveiled its strategy on COVID-19 therapies, described as another milestone in fighting the virus as it aims to speed up recovery, reduce hospitalisation and help those suffering from long COVID.