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Eli Lilly Wins EMA Nod For COVID-19 Antibody Therapy; Shares Jump 3%

Eli Lilly and Co. received praise from the European Medicines Agency’s (EMA) Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) for its antibody treatment for confirmed COVID-19 cases. Shares of the healthcare company rose 3.2% to close at $206.92 on March 5.

Eli Lilly (LLY) said that bamlanivimab alone and bamlanivimab administered together with etesevimab can be used for treating COVID-19 in patients aged 12 years and older. Notably, these patients do not require supplemental oxygen for COVID-19 and have a high risk of getting severe COVID-19.

The EMA’s opinion followed Phase 2 and Phase 3 results from Eli Lilly’s BLAZE-1 trial, which demonstrated the efficacy of both antibodies. (See Eli Lilly stock analysis on TipRanks)

Eli Lilly CEO David A. Ricks said, “Today’s CHMP recommendation is another important milestone in our efforts to extend access to antibody therapies for patients with COVID-19 around the world, providing a pathway for more EU countries to enable use of potentially life-saving treatments for COVID-19.”

“We hope this opinion will accelerate those reviews and authorizations, particularly in low- and middle-income countries, where Lilly is prepared to provide doses at greatly reduced costs or free of charge,” Ricks added.

On March 4, Mizuho Securities analyst Vamil Divan reiterated a Buy rating on the stock with a price target of $228 (10.2% upside potential). “With limited patent exposure over the next decade and the potential for continued margin expansion” the analyst “continues to see Lilly as a best-in-class story in large cap biopharma.”

Divan believes “the premium valuation the stock trades at is more than justified.”

The consensus rating among analysts is a Strong Buy based on 10 Buys and 2 Holds. The average analyst price target stands at $225.67 and implies upside potential of 9% to current levels over the next 12 months. Shares have gained more than 52% over the past year.

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