Regeneron will provide 300,000 doses of Covid treatment for U.S. by early January, CEO Schleifer says

Regeneron will provide the U.S. with 300,000 doses of its newly authorized Covid-19 antibody treatment by early January, the company’s CEO Dr. Leonard Schleifer said on Monday.

The Food and Drug Administration on Saturday granted an emergency use authorization for the company’s antibody treatment, called REGN-COV2. The experimental therapy was given to President Donald Trump when he contracted the coronavirus in October.

In July, the federal government, as part of the Trump administration’s Operation Warp Speed, gave Regeneron $450 million in funding to support manufacturing of the drug.

Schleifer told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Monday that the company has 80,000 doses of its antibody treatment immediately ready for distribution. The federal government will be responsible for allocating the doses to the states “proportion to the need and amount of Covid,” he said.

After January, Regeneron will have the ability to supply 100,000 doses every month, Schleifer said. The company is also conducting experiments to determine whether the dosage can be cut in half, which would eventually double the amount of available doses to 200,000 every month if proven effective, he said.

“We hope to have millions of doses available. Now still, that might not be enough,” Schleifer told CNBC, saying an eventual coronavirus vaccine would bring down the number of cases. Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca have all recently provided data suggesting their Covid-19 vaccines are effective in protecting a majority of people from the virus.

“I’m hopeful that will really bring down the number of cases and that those people that still get it, because they didn’t either respond to the vaccine, or they didn’t access the vaccine or didn’t want the vaccine, that there will be this monoclonal cocktail of ours available for treatment,” he said.

Regeneron’s drug is part of a class of treatments known as monoclonal antibodies, which are made to act as immune cells that scientists hope can fight infections. Preclinical trials have shown that the therapy, a “cocktail” of two antibodies combined, reduces the amount of virus and associated damage in the lungs of non-human primates. It was also found to reduce medical visits in patients with mild-to-moderate Covid-19.

The antibody cocktail from Regeneron is given through an hour-long infusion in a hospital or clinic. Patients have to be monitored for an hour following the infusion, Schleifer said. Some medical experts have been concerned that adding more people in the nation’s hospitals, which are seeing record-high levels of Covid-19 patients, could be a challenge.

Regeneron is looking for a way to make that process easier and more accessible for people diagnosed with Covid-19, including a way to administer the drug at someone’s home. CVS, which has the ability to provide at-home infusions, could be one option, Schleifer said.

“I think as we get more experience, we’ll have a more efficient administration supply chain,” he told CNBC. “We don’t want to comingle, if you will, somebody who’s already infected, but we do want to treat these people because you can reduce the risk of hospitalizations.”

— CNBC’s Berkeley Lovelace Jr. contributed to this report.

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