First patient outside U.S. treated in global Kevzara® (sarilumab) clinical trial program for patients with severe COVID-19
- Phase 2/3 trial initiated in Italy, Spain, Germany, France, Canada and Russia and is enrolling patients immediately
- Kevzara inhibits IL-6, which may play a role in driving the inflammatory immune response that causes acute respiratory distress syndrome observed in patients with severe COVID-19 infection
- Sanofi is leading trials outside the U.S., while Regeneron is leading U.S. trials
PARIS and TARRYTOWN, N.Y. – March 30, 2020 – The first patient outside of the U.S. has been treated as part of a global clinical program evaluating Kevzara® (sarilumab) in patients hospitalized with severe COVID-19. The global clinical program has now been initiated in Italy, Spain, Germany, France, Canada, Russia and the United States – all countries that have been impacted by COVID-19.
This is the second multi-center, double-blind, Phase 2/3 trial as part of the Kevzara COVID-19 program, and the companies are continuing to work with health authorities around the world to secure initiation at additional sites. This follows Sanofi and Regeneron’s announcement earlier this month of the initiation of the first trial, which is U.S.-based.
“Sanofi and Regeneron are relentlessly working to rapidly initiate trials around the world that will help determine whether Kevzara has the potential to play a role in addressing the COVID-19 global health crisis. These trials will provide important data to determine whether Kevzara ameliorates the life-threatening complications of COVID-19 infections by counteracting the overactive inflammatory responses in the lungs when damaged by the virus. In these unprecedented times, we are deeply grateful for the daily collaboration with health authorities that are enabling us to conduct this clinical work so quickly,” said John Reed, M.D., Ph.D., Sanofi’s Global Head of Research and Development. “In addition to this clinical trial aiming to help critically ill COVID-19 patients, our work continues to bring forth a vaccine for disease prevention, along with efforts to provide other important Sanofi medicines that may help patients impacted by COVID-19.”
Kevzara is a fully-human monoclonal antibody that inhibits the interleukin-6 (IL-6) pathway by binding and blocking the IL-6 receptor. IL-6 may play a role in driving the overactive inflammatory response in the lungs of patients who are severely or critically ill with COVID-19 infection. The role of IL-6 is supported by preliminary data from a single-arm study in China using another IL-6 receptor inhibitor.
“Data from a single-arm study in China suggest that the interleukin-6 pathway may play an important role in the overactive inflammatory response in the lungs of patients with COVID-19. Despite this encouraging finding, it's imperative to conduct a properly designed, randomized trial to understand the true impact of Kevzara, which we are now doing through this global clinical trial program,” said George D. Yancopoulos, M.D., Ph.D., Co-founder, President and Chief Scientific Officer of Regeneron. “In addition to the Kevzara program, Regeneron continues to rapidly advance a novel antibody cocktail for the prevention and treatment of COVID-19.”
The trial outside of the U.S. will assess the safety and efficacy of adding a single intravenous dose of Kevzara to usual supportive care, compared to supportive care plus placebo. The trial has an adaptive design with two parts and is anticipated to enroll approximately 300 patients. The trial will recruit hospitalized patients from several countries who are severely or critically ill with COVID-19 infection.
Scientists have preliminary evidence that IL-6 may play a key role in driving the inflammatory immune response that causes acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) in patients critically ill from COVID-19. In an initial, non-peer-reviewed case series from China, a 21-patient cohort of COVID-19 patients experienced rapidly reduced fevers and 75% of patients (15 out of 20) reduced their need for supplemental oxygen within days of receiving another IL-6 receptor antibody (tocilizumab). Based on these results, China updated its COVID-19 treatment guidelines and approved the use of that IL-6 inhibitor to treat patients with severe or critical disease.
The use of Kevzara to treat the symptoms of COVID-19 is investigational and has not been evaluated by any regulatory authority.
About the Trial
This Phase 2/3, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial uses an adaptive design to evaluate the safety and efficacy of Kevzara in adults hospitalized with serious complications from COVID-19. To enter the trial, patients must have pneumonia and be hospitalized with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 that is classified as severe or critical, or who are suffering from multi-organ dysfunction. After receiving the study dose, patients will be assessed for 60 days, or until hospital discharge or death.
In the Phase 2 part of the trial, patients will be randomized 2:2:1 into three groups: Kevzara higher dose, Kevzara lower dose and placebo.
The Phase 2 findings will be utilized in an adaptive manner to determine transition into Phase 3, helping to determine the endpoints, patient numbers and doses.
If the trial continues with all three treatment arms to the end, it is expected to enroll approximately 300 patients, depending on the status of the COVID-19 outbreak and the proportion of patients with severe COVID-19.
About Kevzara® (sarilumab) Injection
Kevzara is currently approved in multiple countries to treat adults with moderately to severely active rheumatoid arthritis who have not responded to or tolerated previous therapy.
Kevzara was jointly developed by Sanofi and Regeneron under a global collaboration agreement. Kevzara is a fully-human monoclonal antibody. Kevzara binds specifically to the IL-6 receptor, and has been shown to inhibit IL-6-mediated signaling. IL-6 is an immune system protein produced in increased quantities in patients with rheumatoid arthritis and has been associated with disease activity, joint destruction and other systemic problems. Kevzara is being investigated for its ability to reduce the overactive inflammatory immune response associated with COVID-19 based on evidence of markedly elevated levels of IL-6 in severely ill patients infected with coronaviruses.
Regeneron (NASDAQ: REGN) is a leading biotechnology company that invents life-transforming medicines for people with serious diseases. Founded and led for over 30 years by physician-scientists, our unique ability to repeatedly and consistently translate science into medicine has led to seven FDA-approved treatments and numerous product candidates in development, all of which were homegrown in our laboratories. Our medicines and pipeline are designed to help patients with eye diseases, allergic and inflammatory diseases, cancer, cardiovascular and metabolic diseases, pain, infectious diseases and rare diseases.
Regeneron is accelerating and improving the traditional drug development process through our proprietary VelociSuite® technologies, such as VelocImmune® which uses unique genetically-humanized mice to produce optimized fully-human antibodies and bispecific antibodies, and through ambitious research initiatives such as the Regeneron Genetics Center, which is conducting one of the largest genetics sequencing efforts in the world.
For additional information about the company, please visit www.regeneron.com or follow @Regeneron on Twitter.
Sanofi is dedicated to supporting people through their health challenges. We are a global biopharmaceutical company focused on human health. We prevent illness with vaccines, provide innovative treatments to fight pain and ease suffering. We stand by the few who suffer from rare diseases and the millions with long-term chronic conditions.
With more than 100,000 people in 100 countries, Sanofi is transforming scientific innovation into healthcare solutions around the globe.
Sanofi, Empowering Life
Media Relations Contact for Sanofi
Tel: +1 (908) 981-8745
Media Relations Contact for Regeneron
Tel: +1 (914) 847-5018
Investor Relations Contact for Sanofi
Tel.: +33 (0)1 53 77 45 45
Investor Relations Contact for Regeneron
Tel: +1 (914) 847-7786
Sanofi Forward-Looking Statements
This press release contains forward-looking statements as defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, as amended. Forward-looking statements are statements that are not historical facts. These statements include projections and estimates and their underlying assumptions, statements regarding plans, objectives, intentions and expectations with respect to future financial results, events, operations, services, product development and potential, and statements regarding future performance. Forward-looking statements are generally identified by the words “expects”, “anticipates”, “believes”, “intends”, “estimates”, “plans” and similar expressions. Although Sanofi’s management believes that the expectations reflected in such forward-looking statements are reasonable, investors are cautioned that forward-looking information and statements are subject to various risks and uncertainties, many of which are difficult to predict and generally beyond the control of Sanofi, that could cause actual results and developments to differ materially from those expressed in, or implied or projected by, the forward-looking information and statements. These risks and uncertainties include among other things, the uncertainties inherent in research and development, future clinical data and analysis, including post marketing, decisions by regulatory authorities, such as the FDA or the EMA, regarding whether and when to approve any drug, device or biological application that may be filed for any such product candidates as well as their decisions regarding labelling and other matters that could affect the availability or commercial potential of such product candidates, the fact that product candidates if approved may not be commercially successful, the future approval and commercial success of therapeutic alternatives, Sanofi’s ability to benefit from external growth opportunities, to complete related transactions and/or obtain regulatory clearances, risks associated with intellectual property and any related pending or future litigation and the ultimate outcome of such litigation, trends in exchange rates and prevailing interest rates, volatile economic and market conditions, the impact of global disruptions, including pandemics, cost containment initiatives and subsequent changes thereto, the average number of shares outstanding as well as those discussed or identified in the public filings with the SEC and the AMF made by Sanofi, including those listed under “Risk Factors” and “Cautionary Statement Regarding Forward-Looking Statements” in Sanofi’s annual report on Form 20-F for the year ended December 31, 2019. Other than as required by applicable law, Sanofi does not undertake any obligation to update or revise any forward-looking information or statements.
Regeneron Forward-Looking Statements and Use of Digital Media
This press release includes forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties relating to future events and the future performance of Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc.("Regeneron" or the "Company"), and actual events or results may differ materially from these forward-looking statements. Words such as "anticipate," "expect," "intend," "plan," "believe," "seek," "estimate," variations of such words, and similar expressions are intended to identify such forward-looking statements, although not all forward-looking statements contain these identifying words. These statements concern, and these risks and uncertainties include, among others, the impact of SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that has caused the COVID-19 pandemic) on Regeneron’s business and its employees, collaborators, suppliers, and other third parties on which Regeneron relies, Regeneron’s ability to continue to conduct its research and clinical programs and manage its supply chain, net product sales of products marketed by Regeneron and/or its collaborators (collectively, “Regeneron’s Products”), and the global economy; the nature, timing, and possible success and therapeutic applications of Regeneron's Products and Regeneron's product candidates and research and clinical programs now underway or planned, including without limitation Kevzara® (sarilumab) for the treatment of patients with severe COVID-19 and Regeneron's novel antibody cocktail for the prevention and treatment of COVID-19 (the "COVID-19 Multi-antibody Therapy"); the likelihood, timing, and scope of possible regulatory approval and commercial launch of Regeneron's product candidates and new indications for Regeneron's Products, such as Kevzara for the treatment of patients with severe COVID-19 and the COVID-19 Multi-antibody Therapy; unforeseen safety issues resulting from the administration of Regeneron's Products and product candidates (such as Kevzara and the COVID-19 Multi-antibody Therapy) in patients, including serious complications or side effects in connection with the use of Regeneron's Products and product candidates in clinical trials; determinations by regulatory and administrative governmental authorities which may delay or restrict Regeneron's ability to continue to develop or commercialize Regeneron's Products and product candidates, including without limitation Kevzara and the COVID-19 Multi-antibody Therapy; ongoing regulatory obligations and oversight impacting Regeneron's Products, research and clinical programs, and business, including those relating to patient privacy; uncertainty of market acceptance and commercial success of Regeneron's Products and product candidates and the impact of studies (whether conducted by Regeneron or others and whether mandated or voluntary) on the commercial success of Regeneron's Products and product candidates; the availability and extent of reimbursement of Regeneron's Products from third-party payers, including private payer healthcare and insurance programs, health maintenance organizations, pharmacy benefit management companies, and government programs such as Medicare and Medicaid; coverage and reimbursement determinations by such payers and new policies and procedures adopted by such payers; competing drugs and product candidates that may be superior to Regeneron's Products and product candidates; the extent to which the results from the research and development programs conducted by Regeneron or its collaborators may be replicated in other studies and lead to therapeutic applications; the ability of Regeneron to manufacture and manage supply chains for multiple products and product candidates; the ability of Regeneron's collaborators, suppliers, or other third parties (as applicable) to perform manufacturing, filling, finishing, packaging, labeling, distribution, and other steps related to Regeneron's Products and product candidates; unanticipated expenses; the costs of developing, producing, and selling products; the ability of Regeneron to meet any of its financial projections or guidance and changes to the assumptions underlying those projections or guidance; the potential for any license or collaboration agreement, including Regeneron's agreements with Sanofi, Bayer, and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd.(or their respective affiliated companies, as applicable), to be cancelled or terminated without any further product success; and risks associated with intellectual property of other parties and pending or future litigation relating thereto (including without limitation the patent litigation and other related proceedings relating to Dupixent® (dupilumab) and Praluent® (alirocumab)), other litigation and other proceedings and government investigations relating to the Company and/or its operations, the ultimate outcome of any such proceedings and investigations, and the impact any of the foregoing may have on Regeneron's business, prospects, operating results, and financial condition. A more complete description of these and other material risks can be found in Regeneron's filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, including its Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2019. Any forward-looking statements are made based on management's current beliefs and judgment, and the reader is cautioned not to rely on any forward-looking statements made by Regeneron. Regeneron does not undertake any obligation to update publicly any forward-looking statement, including without limitation any financial projection or guidance, whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise.
Regeneron uses its media and investor relations website and social media outlets to publish important information about the Company, including information that may be deemed material to investors. Financial and other information about Regeneron is routinely posted and is accessible on Regeneron's media and investor relations website (http://newsroom.regeneron.com) and its Twitter feed (http://twitter.com/regeneron).