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Regeneron (REGN) COVID-19 Cocktail Effective Against New Variants

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Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (REGN - Free Report) announced that researchers in Dr. David Ho's Columbia University lab and its own scientists have independently confirmed that its REGEN-COV antibody cocktail is effective against the SARS-CoV-2 variants.

REGEN-COV is a cocktail of two monoclonal antibodies (casirivimab and imdevimab, also known as REGN10933 and REGN10987, respectively) and was designed specifically to block the infectivity of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

Researchers and scientists confirmed that REGEN-COV successfully neutralizes the circulating SARS-CoV-2 variants first identified in the U.K. (B.1.1.7) and South Africa (B.1.351).

Both teams of researchers assessed the in vitro neutralization potency of numerous COVID-19 antibodies (including those that have received emergency authorization and those still in development) against various mutated strains of the virus. While some of the antibodies tested were not effective, the REGEN-COV antibody cocktail continued to neutralize all variants tested. The cocktail retained its potent neutralizing capability against the B.1.1.7 variant, with both antibodies retaining their potency.

REGEN-COV also retained its highly potent neutralizing capacity against the B.1.351 variant. While imdevimab retained its potency against this variant, the potency of casirivimab was reduced. Nevertheless, it was still comparable to the potency that other single antibodies in development have against the original virus.

Moreover, REGEN-COV is expected to remain similarly potent against the variant first identified in Brazil (1.1.248) and recently seen in a patient in the United States, which contains the same receptor binding domain mutations as the B.1.351 variant and to confirm this, Regeneron is currently conducting additional preclinical research against this particular strain.

We remind investors that REGEN-COV received an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the FDA in November 2020 for the treatment of mild to moderate COVID-19 in adults, as well as pediatric patients at least 12 years of age and weighing at least 40 kg, who have received positive results of direct SARS-CoV-2 viral testing and are at high risk for progressing to severe COVID-19 and/or hospitalization.

Meanwhile, Regeneron stated that it has hundreds of additional potent, neutralizing antibodies in its labs that could form new combinations, which might be useful against future variants.

Regeneron’s shares have rallied 51.9% in the past year compared with the industry’s growth of 12.9%.

 

Given the alarming levels of the spread and severity of the pandemic, quite a few pharma/biotechs are developing antibodies or evaluating their approved drugs or pipeline candidates to determine if they are effective enough to treat the infected patients. The emerging new strains pose a greater threat and the pharma/biotech companies are racing against time now.

Eli Lilly and Company (LLY - Free Report) , Vir Biotechnology, Inc. (VIR - Free Report) and GlaxoSmithKline plc (GSK - Free Report) recently announced a collaboration to evaluate a combination of two COVID-19 therapies in low-risk patients with mild to moderate COVID-19. Lilly has expanded its ongoing BLAZE-4 study to evaluate the administration of bamlanivimab (LY-CoV555) 700mg in combination with VIR-7831 (also known as GSK4182136) 500mg, two neutralizing antibodies that bind to different epitopes of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein.

We note that bamlanivimab has also been granted an EUA by the FDA for the treatment of mild to moderate COVID-19 in adults and pediatric patients (12 years of age and older weighing at least 40 kg) who are at high risk for progressing to severe COVID-19 and/or hospitalization.

Regeneron currently carries a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell).

You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

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