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Will Regeneron's COVID Cocktail Win Be Short-Lived?

By Keith Speights and Brian Orelli, PhD - Apr 21, 2021 at 5:10AM

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The biotech's antibody therapy continues to show promise. But there's considerable uncertainty about its long-term prospects.

Regeneron Pharmaceuticals (REGN 0.20%) recently racked up a couple of additional successes with late-stage studies of its COVID-19 antibody cocktail REGEN-COV. In this Motley Fool Live video recorded on April 14, 2021, Motley Fool contributors Keith Speights and Brian Orelli discuss whether the biotech's COVID cocktail win will only be short-lived.

Keith Speights: Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, the ticker there is REGN, had two positive announcements for its COVID-19 antibody cocktail, REGEN-COV. They announced both of these new developments on Monday.

The company reported results from a late-stage study that showed that this antibody cocktail significantly reduced progression to symptomatic COVID-19 in patients who had been recently infected. It also announced results from another phase 3 study that showed the antibody cocktail reduced the risk of infection for individuals in households where another person had been infected by the coronavirus.

These are definitely positive stories for Regeneron, but do you think these wins will translate to significant revenue for the biotech? Or could these wins actually be short-lived?

Brian Orelli: Obviously as more and more people get vaccinated the infection rates should go down, and then therefore the opportunity to treat people either prophylactically because they've been exposed or because they realized that they test positive but don't have any symptoms and then want this antibody cocktail, that opportunity is going to be go down, but it's not going to go to zero, and so I think there's an opportunity for some treatments.

But certainly the market for treatments is going to diminish substantially over the next few months and into the next year. I don't know.

The other wildcard here is the variance. The variance pop up and we can't keep up fast enough with them, and they are infecting enough people that are already vaccinated and we can't keep up creating new vaccine fast enough, then I think that's another opportunity for the treatments that they don't have right now.

Speights: I think that's a really good take on it, Brian. If you're looking at potentially investing in Regeneron, there are other reasons to consider buying the stock. I think you said recently, Brian, that they just don't fail. [laughs] Has Regeneron had any failures? [laughs] Not recently.

Orelli: Not late-stage failure certainly. I can't think of any failures that they've had.

Speights: The company has several drugs with fast-growing sales. This is obviously promising news with this antibody therapy. But like you say, Brian, it remains to be seen whether or not it's going to have market traction over the long run. It's hard to say. It's hard to say what's going to happen in the world of COVID-19 beyond the pandemic.

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