BRUSSELS- The European Union has signed a contract with GlaxoSmithKline for the supply of up to 220,000 treatments of its investigational monoclonal antibody therapy sotrovimab against COVID-19, it said on Wednesday.
The drug, which is being developed together with U.S. firm Vir Biotechnology, can be used for the treatment of high-risk coronavirus patients with mild symptoms who do not require supplemental oxygen, the Commission said.
The deal is a boost to the GSK's work on potential treatments for COVID-19 after the company played a limited role in the development of vaccines. Rather than making its own coronavirus shot, GSK has focused on supplying its booster to other developers and has partnered with Sanofi to develop a jab.
GSK confirmed the deal in a statement on Wednesday, saying it represented "a crucial step forward for treating cases of COVID-19" in Europe.
The drug is currently being assessed by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) under a rolling review.
The contract has been signed by 16 of the 27 EU states, which could buy the drug only after it is approved by EMA or by national drug regulators.
(Reporting by Francesco Guarascio @fraguarascio and Jo Mason, editing by Louise Heavens) ((Francesco.Guarascio@thomsonreuters.com; +32 2 287 68 17;))