Shares of biotech major Regeneron Pharmaceuticals REGN have surged 49% in the year so far compared with the industry’s growth of 2.4%.
Price has rallied particularly from the onset of the year as Regeneron is one of the leading biotech companies along with Gilead Sciences, Inc. GILD and Moderna Inc. MRNA, among others, that is working on antibodies and vaccines for the treatment of COVID-19.
Regeneron’s investigational two-antibody "cocktail" for the treatment and prevention of COVID-19 shows promise and investors are banking on the successful development of the candidate as it will generate a new stream of revenues for the company, given the widespread outbreak. The company recently announced encouraging first data from a descriptive analysis of a phase I/II/III trial of REGN-COV2, which showed that the candidate reduced viral load and the time to alleviate symptoms in non-hospitalized patients suffering from COVID-19. REGN-COV2 also showed positive trends in reducing medical visits.
In addition, REGN-COV2 is currently being studied in a phase II/III clinical study for the treatment of COVID-19 in hospitalized patients, the phase III open-label RECOVERY study of hospitalized patients in the U.K. and a phase III study for the prevention of COVID-19 in household contacts of infected individuals.
Meanwhile, Regeneron has signed an agreement with the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the U.S. Department of Defense, whereby the company was awarded a $450-million contract to manufacture and supply filled and finished REGN-COV2 to the U.S. government.
Further, Regeneron has collaborated with Swiss pharma giant Roche RHHBY to develop, manufacture and distribute REGN-COV2, whereby the former will distribute REGN-COV2 in the United States and the latter will be responsible for distribution outside the country, thereby increasing the geographical reach of the cocktail treatment.
Apart from this, Regeneron’s efforts to expand the label of its approved drugs and concurrently develop the pipeline are impressive. Dupixent continues to maintain momentum for the company, even though lead drug Eylea’s sales have been affected by the ongoing pandemic. The company has a solid and diverse portfolio, which will reap returns for the company even after REGN-COV2 loses steam once the vaccines come out. Libtayo too is off to a solid start and sales should pick up further on label expansions of the drug.
Regeneron currently carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.
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