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Eli Lilly and Incyte’s Baricitinib Receives FDA EUA for Treatment of Hospitalized COVID-19 Patients

By HospiMedica International staff writers
Posted on 23 Nov 2020
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Image: Baricitinib (Olumiant) (Photo courtesy of Eli Lilly and Company)
Image: Baricitinib (Olumiant) (Photo courtesy of Eli Lilly and Company)
The US Food and Drug Administration has issued an emergency use authorization (EUA) for the drug baricitinib, in combination with remdesivir, for the treatment of suspected or laboratory confirmed COVID-19 in hospitalized adults and pediatric patients two years of age or older requiring supplemental oxygen, invasive mechanical ventilation, or extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO).

Baricitinib is a JAK1/JAK2 inhibitor licensed to Eli Lilly and Company (Indianapolis, Ind, USA) from Incyte (Wilmington, DE, USA). Baricitinib is a janus kinase inhibitor, which blocks the activity of one or more of a specific family of enzymes, interfering with the pathway that leads to inflammation. Baricitinib is a prescription oral tablet medication that is FDA-approved (and sold under the brand name Olumiant) for the treatment of moderately to severely active rheumatoid arthritis. Remdesivir is an FDA-approved (and sold under the brand name Veklury) intravenous antiviral drug for use in adult and pediatric patients 12 years of age and older and weighing at least 40 kilograms (about 88 pounds) for the treatment of COVID-19 requiring hospitalization.

This is the first combination regimen to be authorized by the FDA. The EUA is based on data from the Adaptive COVID-19 Treatment Trial (ACTT-2), a randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled study to evaluate the efficacy and safety of baricitinib in combination with Gilead Sciences’ (Foster City, CA, USA) antiviral drug remdesivir versus placebo with remdesivir in hospitalized patients with or without oxygen requirements. In the clinical trial of hospitalized patients with COVID-19, baricitinib, in combination with remdesivir, was shown to reduce time to recovery within 29 days after initiating treatment compared to patients who received a placebo with remdesivir. The recommended dose for this EUA is baricitinib 4-mg once daily for 14 days or until hospital discharge.

"Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Lilly has been committed to finding potential treatments to help people around the world who've been impacted by this virus," said David A. Ricks, Lilly chairman and CEO. "Today's FDA action for baricitinib marks the second Lilly therapy to be granted an EUA, in addition to the recent neutralizing antibody EUA for high-risk non-hospitalized patients, increasing the number of treatment options for COVID-19 patients at different stages of the disease. This is an important milestone for hospitalized patients on oxygen, as baricitinib may help speed their recovery."

“The FDA’s emergency authorization of this combination therapy represents an incremental step forward in the treatment of COVID-19 in hospitalized patients, and FDA’s first authorization of a drug that acts on the inflammation pathway,” said Patrizia Cavazzoni, M.D., acting director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “Despite advances in the management of COVID-19 infection since the onset of the pandemic, we need more therapies to accelerate recovery and additional clinical research will be essential to identifying therapies that slow disease progression and lower mortality in the sicker patients.”

Related Links:
Eli Lilly and Company
Incyte
Gilead Sciences



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