Eli Lilly in the News: COVID-19, Q2 and Ad Drama


Eli Lilly and Company is in the news with positive Olumiant data in COVID-19, a drop in COVID-19 product sales for the quarter and a protest of one of their ads. Here’s a look.

Lilly and Incyte’s Olumiant Decreases Deaths in COVID-19 Patients

Eli Lilly and Incyte announced data from an extra cohort of 101 adults from the COV-BARRIER clinical study. In this sub-study, COVID-19 patients on mechanical ventilation or receiving extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) who were dosed with Olumiant (baricitinib) and standard of care treatment were 46% less likely to die by Day 28 compared to patients on standard of care who received placebo. 

Olumiant is a once-daily, oral JAK inhibitor discovered by Incyte and licensed to Lilly. It is approved in the U.S. and more than 75 other countries for moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis and specific hospitalized COVID-19 patients in Japan.

“As additional data from COV-BARRIER become available, it is increasingly evident that treatment with baricitinib may help prevent death in some of the most critically ill COVID-19 patients and that baricitinib represents an important treatment option for this vulnerable group of patients in this constantly evolving pandemic,” said E. Wesley Ely, professor of medicine and co-director of the Critical Illness, Brain Dysfunction, and Survivorship (CIBS) Center at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and co-principal investigator of COV-BARRIER.

Lilly Stock Dips 1.4% After Missing Q2 Profit Expectations

At its second-quarter financial report, Lilly’s quarterly profits were slightly below expectations because of weaker sales of its COVID-19 therapies, essentially its antibody cocktail. The cocktail, made up of bamlanivimab and etesivimab, was paused in late June after lab studies suggested it was not effective against variants first seen in Brazil (Gamma) and South Africa (Beta). 

Bamlanivimab alone was dropped after studies shown it did not respond well to variants. Sales of the antibody treatments were $148.9 million in the quarter compared to $810.1 million in the first quarter. Shares dipped 1.4% in premarket trading at the news.

Cristina Arias/Cover/Getty Images

Otherwise, the company demonstrated a strong quarter.

David A. Ricks, Lilly’s chairman and chief executive officer, stated, “We delivered strong perfornace this quarter, with volume-driven growth across our core business and most major geographies. We accelerated use of our newest medicines around the world with solid sequential growth versus first-quarter 2021.”

One Million Moms Organization Protests Lilly Advertisement Promoting Diversity

Ultra-conservative Christian organization One Million Moms is protesting a one-minute advertisement Eli Lily ran to promote diversity. The ad’s tagline is “We make medicine, not just for some, but for everyone.” The ad includes people of color, people with disabilities, and members of the LGBTQ community, and according to The Christian Post, “a woman with double mastectomy scars wearing an open shirt and identifying as a man.”

The One Million Moms protest, LGBTQ Nation notes, “The group deliberately misgenders the transgender people depicted in the ad touting diversity.” 

Their petition states, “While there are a number of concerning elements in the commercial, including a transgender [woman] wearing flashy makeup, one of the most heartbreaking and confusing parts of the ad is this statement: ‘Because the body you are randomly assigned at birth shouldn’t determine how well you are cared for.’ This voice-over is heard while showing a [man] with double mastectomy scars wearing an open robe and identifying as a man.”

Previous protests by the group include articles and petitions about lesbians in Toy Story 4, a gay character in the live-action Beauty and the Beast, and a children’s book that mentions a child’s same-sex parents. One Million Moms is part of the fundamentalist Christian American Family Association. The Southern Poverty Law Center has designated the Christian American Family Association an anti-LGBTQ hate group.


BioSpace source: