With a view to establishing a pharmaceutical medicines framework for monoclonal antibodies – a type of antibody treatment – NHS England has published a new £755m contract notice, with suppliers invited to bid.
Primarily based out the Midlands and East, the NHS England framework has four lots covering the supply of a number of key pharmaceutical products, including annual tranche, cytokine modulators, other monoclonal antibodies interleukin inhibitors, JAK inhibitors and medicines for migraine and asthma.
Alongside the primary lots supplying these branded medicines in the Midlands and East, there are also smaller lots listed on the contract notice to supply into pan-London regions and the South of England.
The one-year framework, with includes an optional extension of up to 24 months, is intended to launch in March 2021.
Monoclonal antibodies are potent, laboratory-made antibodies and have surfaced in the general media recently as a potential Covid-19 treatment, with the United States President Donald Trump having reportedly received treatment using them during his stay in hospital with the virus.
Significant funding for potential monoclonal antibody treatments have since been made available by health authorities in the United States.
In the UK, meanwhile, the first trials of monoclonal antibodies to help treat Covid-19 patients in UK hospitals were announced in mid-September, with the first treatments intended to begin in the coming weeks.
Those trials in UK hospitals will form part of the UK Recovery Trial.