Regeneron moving quickly to develop novel drug for coronavirus

March 18, 2020

Regeneron reported this week that it is within months of launching a clinical trial of a novel antiviral to treat COVID-19. 

The company’s CEO told Barron’s that Regeneron has identified hundreds of virus-neutralizing antibodies that could be used to create a cocktail treatment. Ultimately, the company plans to zero in on two antibodies to develop a drug that could be a vaccine for at-risk patients or a therapy for someone infected with SARS-CoV-2 (the novel coronavirus).

For its approach to SARS-CoV-2, Regeneron is leveraging the platform technology it used to develop a treatment for Ebola, which produces antibodies from genetically engineered mice.

Regeneron’s CEO said the company hopes to begin testing the therapy in June with the goal of scaling up production by the end of summer.

Separately, the company has also been testing an arthritis treatment it developed with Sanofi, Kevzara, on COVID-19 patients with lung inflammation.

A number of other trials are underway around the world testing existing drugs to treat SARS-CoV-2. Chinese officials reported this week that Avigan, an anti-flu drug manufactured by a subsidiary of Fujifilm, has been shown to be effective in treating coronavirus patients with no obvious side effects.

Gilead is also testing its Ebola drug remdesivir as a coronavirus treatment and expects to report data next month.