During Regeneron's (REGN -2.09%) earnings call on Tuesday, Chief Scientific Officer George Yancopoulos told analysts that the company planned to start human trials of REGN-COV2, the company's experimental COVID-19 treatment, in June. That means that if results from those studies are positive, the antibody cocktail could be available for use by the end of summer or fall.
From Ebola to COVID-19
Remdesivir, a recently approved COVID-19 treatment from Gilead Sciences (GILD -1.53%), and Regeneron's antibody cocktail both emerged from an Ebola study. While Gilead was ready to test its older antiviral candidate against COVID-19 right off the bat, Regeneron quickly developed new antibodies that specifically bind to the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein.
Gilead's remdesivir was shown to reduce the number of days critically ill COVID-19 patients spent hospitalized from 15 to 11, which isn't a very high bar for Regeneron's antibody cocktail to vault over.
In April, the FDA accepted an application from Regeneron for REGN-EB3 as an Ebola treatment, and it's largely expected to earn approval. The antibody cocktail outperformed other investigational antiviral drugs in the Ebola study by a mile, including remdesivir.
The REGN-COV2 program is using a multi-antibody approach that targets different parts of SARS-CoV-2. Regeneron used the same platform to rapidly develop its coronavirus antiviral as it used to develop REGN-EB3 for Ebola.
In April, Regeneron moved its REGN-COV2 antibodies into clinical-scale production and expects to have hundreds of thousands of doses available by the end of August. While Regeneron is going to develop REGN-EB3 as a treatment for people who have severe cases of COVID-19, it could also be used to prevent new infections.