NY Governor Andrew Cuomo: Trials and Drug Treatments, Antimalarial Medications and Regeneron

Governor Cuomo on COVID-19 Drug Treatment, Therapies, Regeneron and Antimalarials

On Saturday, March 21 Governor Cuomo spoke the following concerning therapies and drug treatments that might be able to help in the treatment of those infected with the Coronavirus.

The following transcript and corresponding video comes courtesy of the Office of the Governor of New York State:

“We’re also going to conduct immediately trials for the new drug therapy which we have been discussing. I spoke to Dr. Zucker about it. There is a theory that the drug treatment could be helpful. We have people who are in serious condition and Dr. Zucker feels comfortable, as well as a number of other health professionals, that in a situation where a person is in dire circumstance, try what you can. The FDA is going to accelerate to New York 10,000 doses. As soon as we get those doses we will work with doctors, nurses and families on using those drugs and seeing where we get.”

Concerning the company Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc., (a biotechnology firm located in Tarrytown, New York), the governor spoke of the possible promise to offered by their research. At the bottom of this page we’ve included a recent press release issued by the company.

On March 22, the Governor spoke again of possible treatments and he made mention of anti-malarial treatments as used in Africa where the disease is no where near as prevalent as other spots in the world. You’ll see mention, within the press release, of Regeneron’s use of anti-malarials in the fight against Ebola and how that pertains to their present research in the fight against Coronavirus.

Governor Cuomo:

“We’re also working on a number of other drug therapies, an anti-body therapy, a possible vaccine. We have a company here in New York called Regeneron that’s really showing some promising results. I exempted them from the no work order, because they couldn’t possibly have a really significant achievement for us. The new numbers, the more tests you take, the more positives you find, and I give this caution because I think people misinterpret the number of new cases. They take that number of new cases as if it is reflective of the number of new cases, the spread. It is not. The number of new cases is only reflective of the number of cases you are taking, right. Where our goal is to find the positive cases, because if we find a positive case we can isolate that person, and that stops the spread. So we’re actually looking for positives. The more tests you take, the more positives you will find.”

“We are taking more tests in New York than anyplace else. We’re taking more tests per capita than China or South Korea. We’re also taking more tests than any state in the United States of America. That is actually a great accomplishment. Because if you remember back, two weeks, which seems like a lifetime now, the whole question was coming up to scale on tests. How do we get the number of tests up and how do we get it up quickly? I spoke to the president and the vice president and said decentralize the testing, let the states do it. I have 200 labs. I can mobilize quickly. Let us do the tests. They agreed. We’re doing more tests than any state, so for example, we’ve done 45,000 tests. California has done 23,000, Washington has done 23,000, so you see how many more tests we are doing. And again, I credit the team that’s working here, because this is exactly what the mandate was. Perform as many tests as quickly as you can, and that’s the drive-thrus we’ve put in place, the hospital management, et cetera. So our numbers should be higher. And they are.”

Press Release from Regeneron:

Regeneron Announces Important Advances in Novel Covid-19 Antibody Program

TARRYTOWN, N.Y., March 17, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Regeneron has identified hundreds of virus-neutralizing antibodies; plans to initiate large-scale manufacturing by mid-April with antibody cocktail therapy

Potential to enter human clinical studies by early summer

This program is in addition to Regeneron’s separate ongoing clinical program evaluating Kevzara® (sarilumab, an IL-6 receptor antibody) in severe COVID-19 patients

Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: REGN) today announced the latest progress in its efforts to discover and develop a novel multi-antibody cocktail that can be administered as prophylaxis before exposure to the SARS-CoV-2 virus or as treatment for those already infected. Regeneron scientists have now isolated hundreds of virus-neutralizing, fully human antibodies from the company’s VelocImmune® mice, which have been genetically-modified to have a human immune system. Regeneron has also isolated antibodies from humans who have recovered from COVID-19, in order to maximize the pool of potentially potent antibodies. From this large pool of candidates, Regeneron will select the top two antibodies for a ‘cocktail’ treatment based on potency and binding ability to the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, as well as other desirable qualities. Using a multi-antibody approach allows for targeting of different parts of the virus and may help protect against multiple viral variants. Regeneron previously used these technologies to rapidly develop a successful treatment for Ebola virus infection, which is currently under review by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

In order to meet the pressing public health need, Regeneron is applying its VelociMab® technology to prepare manufacturing-ready cell lines as lead antibodies are selected, so that clinical-scale production can begin immediately. The company is working toward the goal of producing hundreds of thousands of prophylactic doses per month by the end of summer and hopes to have smaller quantities available for initial clinical testing at the beginning of the summer. The company is working with the U.S. Health & Human Services’ Biomedical Advanced Research and Defense Authority (BARDA) to increase capacity even further.

“Our three decades of investment in our VelociSuite antibody technologies, which accelerate and improve the traditional drug discovery process, have hopefully prepared us for this critical time and to meet this important challenge,” said George D. Yancopoulos, M.D., Ph.D., Co-founder, President and Chief Scientific Officer of Regeneron. “Given the tremendous interest and concern around the COVID-19 pandemic, we will be providing regular and transparent updates on our discovery and development programs. I want to recognize our incredible team, which is working around the clock to develop needed solutions to this global health crisis.”

All coronaviruses have a single glycoprotein on the virus surface called the spike protein, which is the protein on the virus cell surface that binds to the host cell and is required for infectivity. Regeneron’s SARS-CoV-2 antibodies will target the spike protein in order to block its interaction with the host cell, and thus neutralize the virus.

“I’m so proud to be part of this cross-company team, which delivered a novel and effective fully human antibody treatment for Ebola in record time and is making every effort to once again rise to this unprecedented challenge,” said Christos Kyratsous, Ph.D., Vice President of Research, Infectious Diseases and Viral Vector Technologies at Regeneron.

Yesterday, Regeneron and its collaborator Sanofi also announced the initiation of a Phase 2/3 clinical trial evaluating Kevzara® (sarilumab) in patients hospitalized with severe COVID-19. Kevzara inhibits interleukin-6 (IL-6), which may play a role in driving the overactive inflammatory response in the lungs of patients who are severely or critically ill with COVID-19.

About Regeneron

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.