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US demand for COVID-19 antibody treatments rising fast

With the ‘fourth wave’ of COVID-19 in the US, Regeneron and GSK report high demand for their monoclonal antibody treatments

With the US summer surge of COVID-19 seeing 100,000 hospitalisations per day, Regeneron and GSK/Vir report rising demand for their antibody treatments.

Regeneron’s antibody cocktail of casirivimab and imdevimab, known as REGEN-COV in the US, and GSK/Vir’s sotrovimab have been shown to prevent and treat acute COVID-19 infection, reducing deaths.

Before the summer surge, Regeneron was shipping fewer than 25,000 doses per week, rising to more than 130,000 doses per week by mid August. Now, the company has more than 150,000 doses per week leaving its facilities to address COVID-19 outbreaks, said Regeneron spokesperson Alexandra Bowie.

In the US, REGEN-COV is only available through a government supply agreement that saw 1.25 million doses delivered in the second quarter of 2021.

“The US government is carefully watching the rate of use and rate of infections around the country, and will decide if they want to make another order or prefer we switch to a commercial model,” said Bowie. “We are also watching and evaluating if/when additional drug needs to be produced. We are confident we can produce and deliver more doses this year, if needed, but can’t provide more specifics at this time.”

REGEN-COV is available across 52 states and territories, with “large shipments” going to states like Florida, Texas and Alabama where infection rates are increasing, added Bowie.

GSK and Vir – which announced last week that its antibody, sotrovimab, had received its first full marketing authorisation in Australia under the brand name Xevudy – are also seeing a sharp rise in orders.

August orders were 300% higher than in July, said GSK’s Lyndsay Meyer. “We are optimistic about the role sotrovimab can play in the US, especially given the surge of the Delta variant and sotrovimab’s ability to bind to a region of the virus that does not overlap with the binding site location of key mutations in current variants of concern,” she said.

GSK and Vir are pursuing a fully commercial model with sotrovimab, which is only currently available in 26 states and territories, although that does include southern states with high rates of COVID-19.

The cost of the monoclonal antibody treatments for COVID-19 remains a thorny issue. REGEN-COV has a list price of about $1,250 per dose, while sotrovimab is more than $2,000 per dose, although Regeneron’s product is free to patients as the bill is paid by the federal government.

GSK has a co-pay programme for commercial patients and, due to previous government relief bills, patients with Medicare and Medicaid, and the uninsured, don’t have to pay to get the treatment.

Article by
Hugh Gosling

31st August 2021

From: Research, Healthcare

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