Regeneron begins clinical trials for COVID-19 antibody treatment

By The Science Advisory Board staff writers

June 12, 2020 -- Regeneron Pharmaceuticals has started its first clinical trial investigating an antibody treatment for COVID-19.

REGN-COV2 is an "antibody cocktail" designed to help prevent and treat COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, according to the company. Regeneron will test its therapeutic on four distinct study populations:

  • Hospitalized patients with COVID-19
  • Symptomatic but not hospitalized patients with COVID-19
  • People without COVID-19 who have a high risk of exposure, including healthcare workers
  • People without COVID-19 who have close exposure to a confirmed case, such as living with a family member or housemate who has COVID-19

For its therapeutic agent, Regeneron selected promising, noncompeting antibodies found through testing people who have recovered from COVID-19 and mice that have been genetically modified to have human immune systems. The two selected antibodies work together to bind to the SARS-CoV-2 receptor-binding domain on the spike protein, diminishing its viral ability. Production of the neutralizing antibodies for clinical use was done with the company's VelociMab and manufacturing capabilities.

The REGN-COV2 trial is being partly funded by the U.S. Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority. The company used a similar approach when developing a triple antibody treatment for Ebola, which is currently being reviewed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

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