GSK and Vir turn to US for distribution as Covid-19 mAb treatment nears blockbuster status
Ever since former President Trump received an infusion of Regeneron’s monoclonal antibody, all three of the now-authorized Covid-19 mAb treatments have been in the spotlight.
The only one flying somewhat under the radar is also the one to most recently receive an emergency authorization, which came last May for GlaxoSmithKline and Vir Biotechnology’s mAb sotrovimab. But that third-to-market status hasn’t stopped the companies from quickly selling about $1 billion worth of doses in the first six months and recently signing a $280 million US government contract.
While declining to disclose US stats specifically, to date, Vir said in an SEC filing that binding agreements have been received for the sale of more than 420,000 doses of sotrovimab worldwide, “including a portion of those procured by the U.S. government.” In addition, more than 220,000 doses have been reserved through other agreements, Vir said.
If sotrovimab is priced similarly to Regeneron’s casirivimab and imdevimab combo, or Lilly’s bamlanivimab and etesevimab combo, as the companies said it would be, that list price of about $1,500 would amount to almost $1 billion for GSK and Vir so far.
And whereas the companies previously said that they would hit the open market and distribute the treatment themselves, a GSK spokesperson confirmed that after about five months of running their own distro ops, they’ve decided to let the US government take over.
In August, GSK and Vir saw an almost 300% spike in orders compared to July.
GSK said in an emailed statement to Endpoints News:
We can confirm that the U.S. government has agreed to purchase sotrovimab, an investigational monoclonal antibody for the early treatment of COVID-19. As part of the agreement, which is worth $279,862,800, GSK will supply sotrovimab to the U.S. government, enabling rapid access to sotrovimab at no cost to patients. As the pandemic continues, we recognize the continued urgency of patient need across the world and continue to engage with governments and procurement bodies to support the pandemic response.
With demand for Covid treatments still ticking up across the US, the price for mAbs is also increasing. Regeneron in mid-September announced a new, $2.9 billion US government deal for 1.4 million more doses of its mAb combo, bringing the total purchased doses by the U.S. government to nearly 3 million. The 1.4 million doses, which are to be supplied by Jan. 31, 2022, come at a cost of $2,100 per dose.