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Equillium (EQ) Stalls Initiation of Phase III Study on COVID-19

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Shares of Equillium Inc. (EQ - Free Report) fell 3.54% after it announced its decision to not initiate a phase III study on its pipeline candidate, itolizumab, for the treatment of hospitalized COVID-19 patients at this time. The company’s decision was based on a review of recent updates regarding the efficacy of COVID-19 vaccine candidates and other treatment options.

Shares of the company have increased 45.2% year to date against the industry’s decline of 0.6%.

The company is continuing to assess the rapidly evolving clinical and commercial landscape related to the pandemic and may consider other options to evaluate itolizumab in COVID-19 patients, including government research initiatives.

The company will evaluate, develop and prioritize its resources for the expansion and acceleration of itolizumabfor the treatment of acute graft-versus-host disease (aGVHD) based on positive interim data on the same. The company also plans to advance the candidate for the treatment of lupus / lupus nephritis and uncontrolled asthma studies.

We note that this month, the  FDA gave Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) to Regeneron’s (REGN - Free Report)  antibody cocktail, casirivimab and imdevimab administered together (formerly known as REGN-COV2 or REGEN-COV2), a therapy currently being investigated for use in COVID-19. The FDA grants EUA to medicines that may help diagnose, treat or prevent a life-threatening disease when adequate and approved alternatives are not available.

Pharma giant Eli Lilly (LLY - Free Report) is also making painstaking efforts to develop several potential neutralizing antibodies for the treatment of COVID-19. In November 2020, Lilly’s antibody  therapy - bamlanivimab was granted an emergency use authorization by the FDA for treating COVID-19, widening the access to a treatment that early data suggest is effective in keeping people infected with coronavirus out of the hospital. Meanwhile, in October, Vir Biotechnology, Inc. (VIR - Free Report) and GlaxoSmithKline plc. announced the global expansion to phase III of the COMET-ICE study evaluating investigational monoclonal antibody, VIR-7831, for the early treatment of COVID-19 in patients who are at high risk of hospitalization.

 Zacks Rank

Equillium currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.


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