During a call with analysts last month, Regeneron said it didn’t expect to record additional sales of its COVID-19 antibodies to the United States this year.
But less than seven weeks later, the COVID landscape has shifted. With infections back on the rise because of the delta variant, there's a renewed need for treatments.
On Tuesday night, Regeneron revealed a deal to provide 1.4 million additional doses of its COVID-19 antibody cocktail, REGEN-COV, to the U.S. Hours later, Eli Lilly said that it will supply America with 388,000 additional doses of its antibody therapy. The deals are worth nearly $3 billion and $330 million, respectively.
Regeneron said it expects to deliver most of the additional doses to the U.S. this year, completing the supply by the end of January of 2022. The company’s marketing partner for the drug outside the U.S., Roche, will assist in manufacturing the antibodies, producing roughly a third of the supply, Regeneron said.
With a price tag of $2,100 per dose, the deal will provide a windfall of $2.94 billion to the company for a treatment that the U.S. provides to patients for free.
The deal brings the total supply of REGEN-COV to the U.S. to nearly 3 million doses, following agreements made in July 2020 and January 2021. In the second quarter, Regeneron reported antibody sales of $2.59 billion, which exceeded the company’s entire revenue figure of the previous quarter ($2.53 billion).
The antibody combo, which includes casirivimab and imdevimab, is authorized in infected patients to reduce the risk of hospitalization or death and for post-exposure prophylaxis.
Uptake of REGEN-COV has been sparked by the company receiving authorization for it to be administered at a lower dose and by injection. Those FDA nods came in early June.
“More than a year and a half into this pandemic, too many people are still being hospitalized and dying due to COVID-19,” Regeneron CEO Len Schleifer said in a statement. “Recently there has been greater demand for REGEN-COV and we will provide additional doses to the U.S. government as quickly as possible.”
For its part, Lilly said it expects to provide 200,000 doses of etesevimab in the third quarter, with the remaining 188,000 to be delivered by the end of this year. The antibody combines with Lilly’s bamlanivimab, which the government previously purchased as a solo COVID treatment.
The FDA revoked Lilly’s authorization of the antibody combo in late June because of its ineffectiveness against coronavirus variants. But early this month, the regulator cleared it for use nationwide, saying it can take on the dominant delta variant.
Lilly said it anticipates a $330 million revenue bump this year through the new supply deal. After sales of $810 million for the antibodies in the first quarter of this year, the figure tumbled to $149 million in the second quarter.
“The recent increase in COVID-19 cases has caused a substantial rise in the utilization of monoclonal antibody drugs, particularly in areas of the country with low vaccination rates,” Lilly’s chief scientific officer Daniel Skovronsky said in a statement.