Trailing Eli Lilly’s COVID-19 antibody treatment into the market—plus at a higher price—made uptake a challenge for Regeneron’s antibody cocktail.
But in the fight against coronavirus variants, REGEN-COV has proven more resilient. The combo's newfound dominance of the market was crystal clear on Thursday, when Regeneron reported $2.59 billion in COVID-19 antibody sales.
In fact, Regeneron's antibody sales grew so much in the second quarter that they eclipsed the company's entire first-quarter haul of $2.53 billion. Analysts had expected about $1.94 billion in COVID-19 antibody sales from Regeneron during the second quarter.
The dramatic quarter-to-quarter increase for REGEN-COV stands in contrast to Lilly’s antibody performance. Earlier this week, Lilly reported that its bamlanivimab and etesevimab sales fell from $810 million in the first quarter of 2021 to $149 million in the second.
Regeneron’s antibody success isn’t just about efficacy against troublesome variants. Two months ago, REGEN-COV scored FDA emergency authorization to be administered at a lower dose and by injection. And last week, the treatment gained another indication as a preventative measure for those exposed to the virus.
After a somewhat slow start for COVID-19 antibodies after their initial emergency approvals, the company is now seeing an uptick. About 50,000 courses are being ordered each week, CEO Len Schleifer said on a conference call Thursday.
Looking ahead, the drugmaker has plans for further label expansions.
“Still under review by the FDA are additional data which we believe could broaden the prevention application to pre-exposure prophylaxis, as well as to extend the treatment paradigm to hospitalized patients,” chief scientific officer George Yancopoulos told investors on the call.
During the second quarter, Regeneron signed an agreement with the United States to provide 1.25 million doses of REGEN-COV. The company doesn't anticipate additional sales to the U.S. in the third quarter, and its fourth-quarter sales will depend on the rate of COVID-19 cases, execs said.
In a note to investors, Bernstein analyst Ronny Gal predicts an additional $1.2 billion in sales for REGEN-COV for the rest of 2021.
Aside from REGEN-COV, Regeneron reported other encouraging news as sales of macular degeneration drug Eylea reached $1.42 billion, an increase of 28% from the second quarter of 2020 and up from $1.35 in the first quarter of this year. With the performance, Eylea continues to put space between itself and its main competitor, Roche’s Lucentis.
Sales of asthma treatment Dupixent came in at $1.5 billion, a 59% increase from the second quarter of last year and up from the $1.26 billion figure reported by Regeneron’s partner on the drug, Sanofi, in the first quarter.