Setback for Limerick company's possible Covid-19 treatment

Setback for Limerick company's possible Covid-19 treatment

Biotech company Regeneron, which has a major industrial operations centre in Limerick, said its arthritis drug showed no benefit for patients with a less severe form of Covid-19 but will continue to trial the drug for critically ill patients.

In a partnership with French drug company Sanofi, Regeneron has been running a global clinical programme evaluating the drug Kevzara in patients hospitalised with severe Covid-19.

They are amongst hundreds of pharmaceutical companies worldwide racing to develop treatments or possible cures to address the pandemic which has already seen more than 200,000 people die.

In an update, Regeneron and Sanofi said they will only test Kevzara on critically ill Covid-19 patients after the drug showed no benefit for patients with a less severe form of the disease.

Early analysis of the study showed negative trends for most outcomes in “severe” patients, while there were positive trends for all outcomes in the “critical” group, the companies said.

Patients who required mechanical ventilation or high-flow oxygenation or required treatment in an intensive care unit were considered critical, while those who required oxygen supply without mechanical or high-flow oxygenation were considered severe.

Headquartered in New York, Regeneron employs almost 1,000 people in the former Dell factory in Raheen.

Regeneron’s shares, which have risen 51% so far this year, fell in trading yesterday following the announcement.

Regeneron is also working on a seperate Covid-19 treatment and said it plans to begin clinical trials in June.

The company's targeted anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibody cocktail is centred on using mice engineered with human-like immune systems and rapidly developing the antibodies they generate into human medicines.

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