Regeneron signs $450 million contract with U.S. government for COVID-19 therapy

(Reuters) – Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc (REGN.O) said on Tuesday the U.S. government signed a $450 million contract with the drugmaker to make and supply its potential double antibody cocktail for COVID-19.

The cocktail, REGN-COV2, is in separate clinical trials assessing its effectiveness in preventing and treating COVID-19, the company said reut.rs/2O2ADgu.

Regeneron signed the contract with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) and the Department of Defense. The doses manufactured under the project will be owned by the federal government.

The contract comes under the government’s “Operation Warp Speed” program, aimed at accelerating access to vaccines and treatments to fight the coronavirus.

The government will support manufacturing REGN-COV2 for immediate use in the country, if the clinical trials are successful and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration grants emergency use authorization (EUA) or product approval.

The agreement covers a fixed number of bulk lots that are intended to be completed in the fall of 2020, the company said.

It expects a range of 70,000 to 300,000 potential treatment doses or 420,000 to 1,300,000 prevention doses to be available from these lots, with initial doses to be ready as early as end of summer.

If EUA or product approval is granted, the government has committed to making doses from these lots available to Americans at no cost and would be responsible for their distribution, Regeneron said.

Separately, the U.S. government on Tuesday awarded a $1.6 billion grant to Novavax Inc (NVAX.O), the biggest yet from Operation Warp Speed, to cover testing, manufacturing and sale of a potential coronavirus vaccine in the country.

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