(Reuters) - Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc said on Monday it began late-stage clinical trials to assess the effectiveness of its antibody cocktail in preventing and treating COVID-19, sending its shares up nearly 4%.
The trial, run jointly with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), would test REGN-COV2's ability to prevent infection in those who have had close exposure to a COVID-19 patient.
REGN-COV2, an experimental therapy, has also entered into mid-to-late stage phase of two trials testing its effectiveness in hospitalized and non-hospitalized COVID-19 patients, Regeneron said.
Regeneron is among the few front-runners who have begun human trials testing their experimental therapies to fight COVID-19, including Gilead Sciences, Eli Lilly and AbbVie.
|REGN||REGENERON PHARMACEUTICALS, INC.||574.61||-8.52||-1.46%|
Regeneron in June began human trial of the antibody cocktail as a treatment for COVID-19, with an "adaptive" design to quickly move to include thousands of patients.
The late-stage trial will be conducted across 100 sites and expected to enroll 2,000 patients in the U.S. It follows a safety assessment of the cocktail in an early-stage trial by an independent committee.
Antibodies are proteins made by the body's immune system that recognize, bind and neutralize an invading virus.
Regeneron's cocktail - a combination of an antibody made by the company and a second antibody isolated from recovered COVID-19 patients - is designed to bind the antibodies to the coronavirus' spike protein.
The drugmaker was also testing its rheumatoid arthritis drug, Kevzara, with Sanofi to treat COVID-19, which on Thursday failed to meet the main goal of a U.S. study testing it in the most critically ill COVID-19 patients.
Shares of the drugmaker were up 3.6% at $645 in trading before the bell.
(Reporting by Saumya Sibi Joseph and Trisha Roy in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli)