Regeneron Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:REGN) announced Tuesday that it had received a $450 million Operation Warp Speed contract for the development and production of REGN-COV2, a COVID-19 treatment candidate. Spearheaded by the Department of Health and Human Services, Operation Warp Speed is a collaboration between several federal agencies, including the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with the core purpose of helping the pharmaceutical industry bring safe and effective COVID-19 countermeasures to market faster.

lap worker injecting sample in vial

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Regeneron began initial human trials of REGN-COV2 on June 11. On Monday, the company issued a statement that it had commenced a phase 3 trial in partnership with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to evaluate the efficacy of the "dual antibody cocktail" as a preventative measure for uninfected individuals who have had direct contact with someone infected with COVID-19. Regeneron is also running two concurrent Phase 2/3 studies of REGN-COV2 on hospitalized and non-hospitalized coronavirus patients. 

Assuming the investigational treatment passes regulatory muster, the company has stated that the first doses of REGN-COV2 could be available before the summer is out. It's targeting the production of up to 300,000 treatment doses and 1.3 million preventative doses through autumn 2020. The government has said that if REGN-COV2 is approved, it will distribute the doses from those early lots to the public free of charge.

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