Roche, Regeneron link up on COVID-19 antibody cocktail

FILE PHOTO: Workers clean windows of a building of Roche in Rotkreuz

ZURICH (Reuters) – Regeneron and Roche are teaming up on an investigational antibody cocktail against COVID-19, with the U.S. company to sell it in the United States and the Swiss drugmaker to sell it elsewhere, should the drug win approval.

Regeneron has said it expects initial data from ongoing trials of its COVID-19 antibody cocktail, called REGN-COV2, next month.

The medicine, among several being developed by drugmakers seeking a treatment for the novel coronavirus, prevented and treated the disease in rhesus macaques and hamsters, Regeneron said this month.

Together with Roche, Regeneron aims to increase the overall production capacity of REGN-COV2 by at least three and a half times in a bid to meet eventual U.S. and global need. Roche’s move to join forces with Regeneron comes after its own drug, Actemra, failed in a trial against COVID-19.

“REGN-COV2 could provide a much-needed treatment option for people already experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, and also has the potential to prevent infection in people exposed to the virus, thus slowing the spread of the global pandemic,” Roche said in a statement.

The companies will jointly fund and run the ongoing late-stage Phase 3 prevention and earlier-stage Phase 1 healthy volunteers safety studies, as well as additional global studies to further evaluate REGN-COV2 in treating or preventing COVID-19, Roche said.

(Reporting by John Miller; Editing by Michael Shields)