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EU signs joint procurement deal for Eli Lilly COVID-19 treatment

FILE PHOTO: An Eli Lilly and Company pharmaceutical manufacturing plant is pictured at 50 ImClone Drive in Branchburg, New Jersey, March 5, 2021. REUTERS/Mike Segar/File Photo

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Commission has signed a joint procurement contract with U.S. drugmaker Eli Lilly and Co for the supply of a monoclonal antibody treatment for COVID-19, the EU executive arm said in a statement on Tuesday.

The treatment is under review by the European Medicines Agency, it said, and 18 EU countries have signed up to the joint procurement for the purchase of enough to treat up to 220,000 patients.

The deal is part of a portfolio of five promising therapeutics announced by the Commission under the EU’s COVID-19 Therapeutics Strategy in June. It also includes treatments from GlaxoSmithKline Plc and Vir Biotechnology Inc, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc and Celltrion HealthCare Co.

“We need to continue our work to prevent illness with vaccines and at the same time ensure that we can treat it with therapeutics,” EU Commissioner for Health Stella Kyriakides said.

Reporting by Jan Strupczewski; Editing by Bill Berkrot