The United States Department of Justice announced today that it will not challenge proposed efforts by Eli Lilly and Company, AbCellera Biologics, Amgen, AstraZeneca, Genentech, and GlaxoSmithKline (together, the Requesting Parties) to share information about manufacturing facilities and other information that could enable them to expedite the production of monoclonal antibody treatments that are determined to be safe and effective to treat COVID-19.
As the letter explains, the demand for monoclonal antibodies targeting COVID-19 is likely to exceed what any one firm could produce on its own. Moreover, waiting until regulators approve specific treatments before scaling up manufacturing might delay access to these potentially life-saving medicines by many months, which adversely could affect the nation’s efforts to fight COVID-19. The Requesting Parties aim to address both problems by sharing information about their manufacturing facilities, capacity, raw materials and supplies that could be used to produce successful COVID-19 monoclonal antibody treatments subject to important safeguards and limits, so that facilities can be ready to manufacture treatments once they prove safe and effective. Among other competitive safeguards, they have committed that they will not exchange information related to the prices of those treatments or the costs of inputs for or production of those treatments. Their efforts likely will expedite and expand the overall production of monoclonal antibody treatments targeting COVID-19 in a way that is unlikely to lessen competition.
“This critical collaboration will help Americans get access to potentially life-saving therapeutics sooner than otherwise would be possible,” Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim said. “It also will help preserve Americans’ ability to benefit from the free market competition that drives innovation and access to drugs in the biotech and pharmaceutical industry.”
The Requesting Parties submitted their business review request pursuant to the expedited, temporary review procedure detailed in the Joint Antitrust Statement Regarding COVID-19 (the “Joint Statement”) issued on March 24 by both the Department and the Federal Trade Commission. According to the Joint Statement, the Department will aim to resolve COVID-19-related business review requests like this one within seven (7) calendar days of receiving all necessary information.
Copies of the business review request and the department’s response are available on the Antitrust Division’s website at https://www.justice.gov/atr/business-review-letters-and-request-letters, as well as in a file maintained by the Antitrust Documents Group of the Antitrust Division. After a 30-day waiting period, any documents supporting the business review will be added to the file, unless a basis for their exclusion for reasons of confidentiality has been established under the business review procedure. Supporting documents in the file will be maintained for a period of one year, and copies will be available upon request to the FOIA/Privacy Act Unit, Antitrust Documents Group at email@example.com.
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