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Experimental treatment with antibodies reduced viral load in some patients with COVID-19. This can also be a positive sign for vaccines

Promising new clinical data for experimental treatment with COVID-19 suggest a secondary but perhaps more important way to withdraw investors: if this neutralizing antibody treatment works in patients with coronavirus, the vaccines that are being developed will work.

Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. REGN,
+ 1.49%
on Tuesday shared preliminary data from a phase 1/2/3 clinical trial for REGN-COV2, finding that the study therapy reduced viral load and caused symptoms to disappear earlier in some outpatients with mild to moderate COVID-1

9. It is most effective in patients with higher viral loads who have not tested positive for antibodies. Shares of Regeneron rose 0.1% in trading on Thursday.

“We believe that our data will have a positive effect on the likelihood of success of vaccines that target the same protein peak that REGN-COV2 targets,” Regeneron CEO Leonard Schleifer said on Tuesday, according to a FactSet transcript. from the invitation.

See also: Abbott exec: Why better tests for COVID-19 can help the US return to normal

Of the various therapies being tested as COVID-19 treatments, at least two are what are called neutralizing antibody cocktails. Together with the Regeneron candidate, Eli Lilly & Co. LLY,
also developed one called LY-CoV555 and produced with the help of plasma from people who had recovered from COVID-19 infections. In mid-September, the drugmaker released promising interim data from a phase 2 study on LY-CoV555.

Wall Street analysts believe that permission to use REGN-COV2 urgently is somewhat inevitable – “We live in interesting times,” Bernstein analysts wrote in an investment note – and perhaps one that will arrive before the November election. Jeffrey Porges of SVB Leerink predicts that Lilly and Regeneron antibody cocktails will receive FDA approval this year. Yet what excited them most was the broader suggestion that if an antibody-based cocktail seemed to work in some patients with COVID-19, how would that discovery be transferred to the closely monitored field of vaccine development.

“We are most focused on [second] derivative reading, “analysts Raymond James wrote on Tuesday to a note to investors. “If treatment works, prevention needs to work, and if prevention works, vaccines need to work.”

Read: There are seven candidates for a coronavirus vaccine in the United States – that’s where they are

There are seven vaccine applicants in clinical trials in the United States, including four who have entered phase 3. (The late-stage study for AstraZeneca AZN,

+ 0.26%
and the vaccine candidate at Oxford University is still on pause in the United States) Vaccines use what is called S-protein as their immunogen. Regeneron therapy involves two different forms of S-protein antibodies.

“The consequences here for the time of market opening are positive,” write analysts from Bernstein. “As far as the antibody cocktail is available in additional quantities [to] vaccines in early 2021, the confidence of the individual[s] will increase. “

So far this year, Regeneron shares have jumped 50.6%, Lilly shares have risen 9.9% and S&P SPX,
+ 0.52%
has gained 4.1%.

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