Eli Lilly and Company (Lily) has reached an agreement with the US government to supply up to 600,000 doses of its investigational Covid-19 drug bebtelovimab for no less than $720m.

The company’s supply of the doses to the US government is subject to receiving an emergency use authorisation (EUA) from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Lilly has filed an application with the US FDA, requesting a EUA for bebtelovimab to treat mild to moderate Covid-19 in certain high-risk patients.

Under the terms of the supply agreement, Lilly is responsible for the delivery of up to 600,000 doses no later than 31 March 2022, with an option of 500,000 additional doses within 31 July 2022.

Bebtelovimab is an investigational neutralizing IgG1 monoclonal antibody (mAb) directed against the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2.

The drug was originally discovered by AbCellera, in partnership with the Vaccine Research Center (VRC) at the National Institutes for Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).

It is the second antibody developed through AbCellera’s collaboration with Lilly after bamlanivimab, which is the first monoclonal antibody therapy for Covid-19 to reach human testing and to be authorised for emergency use by the US FDA.

Lilly has licensed bebtelovimab and is responsible for its development, manufacturing, and distribution, along with bamlanivimab.

Bebtelovimab is said to maintain binding and neutralising activity across currently known and reported variants of concern, including Omicron and BA.2.

It is being studied for the treatment of mild-to-moderate Covid-19 both as a monotherapy and together with other mAbs.

According to the pseudovirus and authentic virus testing, bebtelovimab has retained full neutralising activity against the currently predominant Omicron variant.

Pseudovirus testing also showed that bebtelovimab can retain neutralisation activity against all other known variants of interest and concern, including BA.2, said Lilly.

Federal funds from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), and Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response supported the agreement.