By Ankur Banerjee
(Reuters)-Regeneron said on Friday that it will stop patients receiving advanced COVID-19 care from participating in trials of experimental antibody therapy for hospitalized patients in accordance with the recommendations of the independent safety committee.
The company said that the recommendation is based on the current potential safety signals and unfavorable risk and return conditions. Competitor Eli Lilly & Co, based on similar recommendations earlier this week, stopped recruiting such patients.
JPMorgan Chase analyst Cory Kasimov said in a report: “There seems to be a trend in this category. It may be that neutralizing antibodies do not work at all in this (hospitalized) population. /Or not safe.”
Both therapies belong to a class of drugs called monoclonal antibodies. Regeneron’s medicine was given to US President Donald Trump before he was hospitalized, and was praised for his recovery from COVID-19.
Regeneron continues to recruit other types of patients for trials, and the independent data monitoring committee supports its recruitment in non-hospitalized patients and hospitalized patients who do not need or have low oxygen levels.
The drugmaker said on Wednesday that this treatment can reduce the viral load of some out-of-hospital patients. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is evaluating the treatment’s potential emergency use authorization (EUA) for mild to moderate patients with a higher risk of adverse consequences.
Regeneron said it will inform the health supervision agency of the latest move. President Trump has previously stated that he will strive to obtain EUA status and provide it to Americans for free. Kasimov of JP Morgan said he still hopes the treatment will be successful.
The antibody mixture is being studied in four late-stage clinical studies, including the Recovery trial in the UK.
Regeneron shares fell nearly 3% to $540.87.
(Reporting by Ankur Banerjee in Bangalore; Editing by Caroline Humer and Arun Koyyur)