Regeneron rises on Eylea, Dupixent strength as COVID-19 antibody funding pours in

In stark contrast to many drugmakers registering second-quarter declines, Regeneron pulled off a 24% revenue increase on the strength of Eylea and Dupixent sales, as well as a U.S. government supply deal for its COVID-19 antibodies.

Eye med Eylea brought in $1.11 billion in second-quarter U.S. sales, a 4% year-over-year decline as a result of COVID-19, but still beat expectations lowered by pandemic frustrations.

Ophthalmology is among the therapy areas suffering most from COVID-19 lockdowns, as evident in a 25% sales drop that one Eylea rival—Novartis and Roche’s Lucentis—recorded for Q2. But Eylea outperformed the overall anti-VEGF field with continued share gains and now boasts a 73% net sales share of the branded U.S. market, Regeneron’s commercial chief Marion McCourt said during a conference call on Wednesday.

In fact, sales have been ticking back upward since May as specialists reopened offices and patient volume increased, she said. Eylea’s flexible dosing intervals of up to 12 weeks is a valuable feature in treating patients during the pandemic, and Regeneron is aiming to expand that dosing frequency advantage even further by testing a high-dose formulation.

Meanwhile, eczema drug Dupixent, whose sales were recorded by Regeneron partner Sanofi, also beat consensus by 4% with Q2 global sales of $945 million, mainly driven by U.S. strength. Dupixent’s strong performance boosted Regeneron’s top line by way of Sanofi collaboration revenue, which jumped to $269 million in Q2, compared with $76 million a year ago.

PD-1 inhibitor Libtayo also came in ahead of analyst estimates with global Q2 sales of $80 million. The drug, as a monotherapy, recently topped chemo at extending the lives of patients with newly diagnosed non-small cell lung cancer. The company’s planning to file for U.S. approval “imminently,” CEO Len Schleifer said on the call.

RELATED: Regeneron bags $450M deal with U.S. government for coronavirus antibody cocktail supply

It also helped that Regeneron reaped funding from the U.S. government for its COVID-19 antibody cocktail. The HHS’ Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) and the Department of Defense recently granted Regeneron a $450 million contract to manufacture and supply the cocktail, REGN-COV2. By combining two types of antibodies targeting different sites on the novel coronavirus, Regeneron hopes its therapy can reduce the risk of resistance from viral mutations.

The company’s testing the drug in four different settings: as a treatment for hospitalized and non-hospitalized COVID-19 patients, as a prevention measure in healthcare workers at high risk of exposure and in those with close contact with a patient at home.

Regeneron expects to report initial virology and biomarker results from the treatment's human studies in September.

All told, Q2 revenues at Regeneron jumped 24% year over year to $1.95 billion, higher than previous estimates of $1.74 billion.