Regeneron begins COVID-19 antibody cocktail late-stage trial, shares rise

The trial would test the therapy's ability to prevent coronavirus infection

(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.

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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.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
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.

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Antibodies are proteins made by the body's immune system that recognize, bind and neutralize an invading virus.

Dr. Len Schleifer is CEO of Regeneron. (Credit: Regeneron)

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)

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