Pharma companies globally scrambled to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic in early 2020, but so far only a handful have advanced therapies and vaccines through to the market. Regeneron is one of such companies, and now the Pharma giant’s antibody cocktail could bring a multibillion-dollar windfall in 2020.
After previously agreeing to supply 300,000 doses of its antibody cocktail to the U.S. government, Regeneron on January 12, announced it has signed a much larger supply deal with the U.S government for up to 1.25 million doses. If the drugmaker is able to supply all doses, the deal with add up to $2.63 billion.
Under the agreement, the government will cover the payment for any doses Regeneron is able to produce by the end of June. The government can also choose to purchase more doses past that point.
The company’s antibody cocktail is authorized for Covid-19 patients with mild to moderate cases who are at a risk of progressing to severe disease. It is already greenlighted at a dose of 2,300mg, or 1,200mg each of components casirivimab and imdevimab, but Regeneron is testing a dose half that size. If the company is able to achieve an FDA authorization for the lower dose, it expects to be able to fulfill the entire order by the end of June. At the higher dose, the company hopes to be able to produce around 750,000 doses by June 30.
Despite the new deal, antibody supply hasn’t really been the issue of Regeneron’s treatment and an identical antibody therapy from Eli Lilly in recent months.
Since the drugs are only authorized in mild and moderate cases, the patients who could benefit aren’t in a healthcare setting where they could be infused. In response to that issue, states and hospital groups setup specialized infusion centers to aid usage.
At Regeneron’s presentation during the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference (Jan 11 – Jan 15), R&D chief George Yancopolous remarked that society has to do a “much better job” getting the antibody therapies to patients.
Regeneron’s first antibody deliveries to the U.S. government led to sales of $144 million in the fourth quarter, the company declared. The number was less than some investors expected, but more deliveries are expected in the first quarter of 2021, CEO Len Schelifer announced.
Reacting to the announcement of the deal, Barclays analysts said that they expected Regeneron and the U.S. government to negotiate another supply agreement, but that the terms “far exceed our expectation.” And while Piper Sandler analysts raised concerns over the profit split between Regeneron and its manufacturing partner Roche, they increase their Regeneron revenue projections by $1.6 billion for 2021.