Regeneron scaling up possible coronavirus treatment 'as fast as we can': CEO

Regeneron says it will take a big step in mid-April

Biotech company Regeneron's founder and chief executive Dr. Leonard Schleifer told "Mornings with Maria" the company is "scaling up as fast as we can" to develop a treatment for coronavirus.

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"One has to come up with something rapidly that might attack the virus. That's the news today," Schleifer said. "We are scaling up as fast as we can. We hope to be in clinical testing sometime in June."

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The company announced Tuesday that it has made advancements toward preventative treatment for the virus after isolating hundreds of virus-neutralizing, fully human antibodies. Regeneron "will select the top two antibodies for a 'cocktail' treatment" it plans to start manufacturing in mid-April.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
REGNREGENERON PHARMACEUTICALS INC.449.52-2.78-0.61%

"Regeneron has a way of giving people the antibodies that they might make from a vaccine, by giving them antibodies that we have developed in these magical mice that George Yancopoulos, our chief scientific officer, discovered that make these human antibodies," Schleifer said.

Regeneron shares soared on the news. Regeneron and French company Sanofi announced Monday that they started a clinical trial to evaluate an experimental treatment in patients hospitalized with severe COVID-19.

The companies initiated a global testing program for Kevzara, a fully-human monoclonal antibody that is already approved to treat adults with rheumatoid arthritis, in up to 400 patients.

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Many companies are racing to find treatments or vaccines for the coronavirus as the U.S. reports at least 85 deaths.

FOX Business' Megan Henney contributed to this report.