BEIJING – In one of the latest Sino-foreign collaborations formed to find a cure for the pandemic that has infected 3.5 million people worldwide, Shanghai-based Junshi Biosciences Co. Ltd. and Eli Lilly and Co. have disclosed an agreement to co-develop therapeutic antibodies for preventing and treating COVID-19. Under the terms, Junshi grants Lilly an exclusive license, outside of greater China, to conduct R&D, manufacture and distribute the SARS-CoV-2 JS-016 neutralizing antibodies developed by Junshi.
While many biopharma companies are holding the line on U.S. drug prices during the COVID-19 pandemic, a few are providing more fuel to fire up lawmakers over prescription drug prices. The latest flames were stoked by last month’s 220% increase in the price of Jaguar Health Inc.’s Mytesi (crofelemer), a botanical drug used to treat the gastrointestinal side effects of HIV antiretroviral treatments. Two days after the FDA denied an emergency use authorization (EUA) for the drug to be used to treat diarrhea in COVID-19 patients who were given antivirals, Jaguar raised the price of Mytesi from $688.52 per bottle to $2,206.52 per bottle.
The capacity of U.S. medical providers and testing capacity for the unfolding COVID-19 pandemic continues to be sorely tested. But there is now a new route for people to pursue serological testing to detect who has already been exposed to the SARS-CoV-2 virus.