Eli Lilly remains confident of producing medicine for COVID-19 treatment

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Indianapolis (US): Pharma firm Eli Lilly continues to back a potential COVID-19 treatment despite research showing that it may not work on hospitalised patients. The drugmaker said Tuesday it remains confident that its drug may stop COVID-19 from developing in other patients. Researchers are still studying the drug in mild to moderately ill patients, to try to prevent hospitalisation and severe illness.

US government officials had earlier said Monday that they put an early end to a study testing the antibody drug in hospitalised patients because it doesn’t seem to be helping them. Antibodies are proteins the body makes when an infection occurs. The attach to a virus and help it be eliminated.

Lilly shares tumbled in early-morning trading on Tuesday after the company also laid out disappointing third-quarter results. The drugmaker said its net income fell four per cent to $1.21 billion, partly due to $125 in research and other costs for developing potential COVID-19 treatments. Global revenue climbed five per cent to $5.74 billion, and adjusted earnings totalled $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 the Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly and Co fell four per cent to $136.01 before markets opened.