Regeneron sees uptick in COVID-19 therapy use as cases rise

The Regeneron Pharmaceuticals company logo is seen on a building at the company's Westchester campus in Tarrytown, New York, U.S. September 17, 2020. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid//File Photo

Aug 5 (Reuters) - Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc (REGN.O) on Thursday blew past analysts' estimates for second-quarter profit and revenue and said it has seen a recent uptick in the use of its COVID-19 therapy by patients in the United States.

The therapy, REGEN-COV, and a similar treatment by Eli Lilly (LLY.N) have been authorized in the United States for treating non-hospitalized COVID-19 patients and the companies signed supply deals with the U.S. government worth millions of dollars.

"There's been a tremendous acceleration in use... (our penetration) in estimated eligible patients has gone up dramatically from somewhere in the low single digits to almost 25% to 30% more recently," said Leonard Schleifer, chief executive officer of Regeneron, adding that more than 50,000 doses of REGEN-COV are being ordered weekly.

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The company said it expects its COVID-19 therapy to continue to be a meaningful revenue contributor this year outside the U.S., as new cases rise globally.

U.S. sales of REGEN-COV surged to $2.59 billion in the second quarter, well ahead of Wall Street estimates of $1.5 billion, according to brokerage Guggenheim, as the company supplied 1.25 million doses in the quarter, completing its contract with the U.S. government.

This is in contrast to Eli Lilly, which was hit by weaker demand for its COVID-19 antibody therapy due to mass vaccine rollouts.

"I think it seems (Regeneron) is implying that they are seeing a substantial increase in the utilization of the therapy as the Delta variant is causing more infections throughout the country," said Guggenheim analyst Yatin Suneja.

However, the company's non-COVID-19 drugs are likely to be its main growth drivers going forward, Suneja added.

Sales of the company's eye disease drug Eylea jumped 32.7% to $2.33 billion in the quarter, bouncing back from pandemic-induced lows. Sales of its eczema drug, Dupixent, which are recorded by Sanofi (SASY.PA) also rose 58.6%.

Excluding items, the company earned $25.8 per share, above estimates of $17.53, according to Refinitiv IBES data.

Overall revenue of $5.14 billion also topped estimates of $3.92 billion.

Shares of the drugmaker were up 1.4% in morning trade.

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Reporting by Dania Nadeem and Amruta Khandekar in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila

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