Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc. today announced the latest progress in its efforts to discover and develop a novel multi-antibody cocktail that can be administered as prophylaxis before exposure to the SARS-CoV-2 virus or as treatment for those already infected.
Regeneron scientists have now isolated hundreds of virus-neutralizing, fully human antibodies from the company’s VelocImmune® mice, which have been genetically-modified to have a human immune system. Regeneron has also isolated antibodies from humans who have recovered from COVID-19, in order to maximize the pool of potentially potent antibodies. From this large pool of candidates, Regeneron will select the top two antibodies for a ‘cocktail’ treatment based on potency and binding ability to the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, as well as other desirable qualities. Using a multi-antibody approach allows for targeting of different parts of the virus and may help protect against multiple viral variants.
Regeneron previously used these technologies to rapidly develop a successful treatment for Ebola virus infection, which is currently under review by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
“Our three decades of investment in our VelociSuite antibody technologies, which accelerate and improve the traditional drug discovery process, have hopefully prepared us for this critical time and to meet this important challenge,” said George D. Yancopoulos, M.D., Ph.D., Co-founder, President and Chief Scientific Officer of Regeneron. “Given the tremendous interest and concern around the COVID-19 pandemic, we will be providing regular and transparent updates on our discovery and development programs. I want to recognize our incredible team, which is working around the clock to develop needed solutions to this global health crisis.”
In order to meet the pressing public health need, Regeneron is applying its VelociMab® technology to prepare manufacturing-ready cell lines as lead antibodies are selected, so that clinical-scale production can begin immediately. The company is working toward the goal of producing hundreds of thousands of prophylactic doses per month by the end of summer and hopes to have smaller quantities available for initial clinical testing at the beginning of the summer. The company is working with the U.S. Health & Human Services’ Biomedical Advanced Research and Defense Authority (BARDA) to increase capacity even further.