Regeneron and Sanofi’s arthritis drug shows no benefit in non-critical COVID-19 patients

By: Wajeeh Khan
Wajeeh Khan
Wajeeh is an active follower of world affairs, technology, an avid reader, and loves to play table tennis in… read more.
on Apr 27, 2020
Updated: Apr 28, 2020
  • Regeneron and Sanofi to continue Kevzara trial in critical patients of COVID-19.
  • The arthritis drug showed positive trends in the “critical” group for all outcomes.
  • Regeneron identifies hundreds of antibodies that can neutralize the flu-like virus.

Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: REGN) is collaborating with Sanofi SA (EPA: SAN) to test Kevzara (arthritis drug) as a potential treatment for COVID-19. In a joint statement on Monday, both companies highlighted that the drug failed to show promising results in patients with mild or moderate symptoms of respiratory disease. Kevzara, the companies added, will now be tested only in the critical cases of COVID-19.

As per the company, the independent monitoring committee assessed the trial’s early data and recommended to discontinue the study in non-critical patients as the drug showed no significant benefit for less severe symptoms.

Kevzara shows positive trends in the critical group for all outcomes

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The companies also highlighted that the drug showed positive trends in the “critical” group for all outcomes. Analysis of the early data, however, showed that it failed to mirror the same effect in the group of “severe” patients. The majority of the outcomes in this group showed negative trends.

The trial considered patients requiring oxygen supply via high-flow oxygenation or mechanical ventilation, or the ones in the ICU (intensive care unit) for treatment, as critical. Others that also required oxygen supply but not with high-flow oxygenation or mechanical ventilation were included in the “severe” group.

Kevzara is an interleukin-6 inhibitor that has the potential to manage the immune system’s aggressive response to the flu-like virus that, as per experts, may contribute to respiratory distress that is commonly associated with the severe COVID-19 cases.

Despite intense efforts from the global pharmaceutical companies that are testing experimental therapies as well as existing drugs as a potential treatment of COVID-19, none of these treatments have so far been approved for Coronavirus.

Regeneron to start human trials of its cocktail therapy in June

According to Regeneron, it has recognized hundreds of antibodies that can potentially neutralize the flu-like virus. The company is now working to design a cocktail therapy with 2 of its best antibody candidates to treat and hopefully prevent COVID-19 as well. Regeneron is scheduled to start human trials of its cocktail therapy in June.

Following the announcement, Regeneron dropped 2% to £447 per share in premarket trading on Monday. The biotech company is currently around 51% up year to date in the stock market.

At £81.43 per share, Sanofi, on the other hand, is roughly 3% up in 2020 so far. The £102.11 billion company had dropped to as low as £63 per share on March 23rd.

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