Covid-19 patients hoping to avoid the hospital now have a second antibody treatment available to them. This past weekend,
got an emergency-use authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to sell the cocktail of two antibodies that it supplied President Trump when he came down with the virus last month.
received FDA authorization for a Covid antibody on Nov. 9.
Regeneron stock (ticker: REGN) was up 0.4% to $521.03 Monday morning, in line with the rise in the
Lilly (LLY) shares were down 1.8% to $142.84.
Both treatments are infusions of synthetic antibodies to the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Clinical trials showed that antibodies given to outpatients with mild to moderate Covid were able to sharply reduce blood levels of the virus and reduce emergency-room visits and hospital admissions by half. Neither the Lilly nor the Regeneron treatment has yet been shown to reduce Covid deaths. And a trial of Regeneron’s treatment in severely ill, hospitalized Covid patients was halted when some patients got worse. So the FDA’s authorization is only for mild-to-moderate patients who are at risk of hospitalization.
“High-risk patients in the United States will have access to a promising therapy early in the course of their infection,” Regeneron Chief Executive Leonard Schleifer said in an announcement on Saturday.
Regeneron calls its cocktail REGEN-COV2, with the constituent antibodies known as casirivimab and imdevimab. With production help from
(RHHBY), it plans to have doses for 80,000 patients ready by the end of November, 120,000 more treatments by January, and an additional 100,000 treatments by the end of January. Under the emergency Covid program Operation Warp Speed, the U.S. government will buy these 300,000 treatments and make them available around the country.
Lilly also has an order for 300,000 treatments of its single antibody infusion, but expects to be able to make a million doses this year. It is also testing an antibody combination that it would produce with help from
Antibody treatments for Covid were once thought to represent a big opportunity. SVB Leerink analyst Geoffrey Porges rates Regeneron stock an Outperform, given the strong growth of its other products, but he expects the sales opportunity for Covid antibody treatments to be limited by the coming ramp-up of highly effective vaccines from the likes of
The strong efficacy shown in vaccine trials—including one reported on Monday by
(AZN)—should ultimately reduce demand for treatments like the antibodies, as well as therapies for severely ill patients, like the antiviral Veklury from
(GILD) or the yet-to-be authorized immune system modulator CD24fc that did so well in clinical trials that its developer, OncoImmune, agreed Monday to be bought by
(MRK) for $425 million cash and potential milestone payments.
Write to Bill Alpert at [email protected]