Regeneron Might Have Coronavirus Treatment This Summer, Says CEO
Regeneron confronts coronavirus
However, the speed of deployment and the viability for patient use will depend on early animal data that his company has, said Schleifer on "The Exchange." "I think that we can get a lot done very quickly."
Regeneron, which created an effective treatment for the Ebola virus, has begun its immunization process for coronavirus with genetically engineered mice, said Schleifer. The mice have been altered to mimic human immune systems.
"We already have tubes with lots of antibodies in them. Over the course of the next weeks we're going to screen them for the best couple that we think could block this virus," said the 1988 founder of Regeneron.
"Then we're going to use our tricks to immediately get it into scale up and be making 200,000 prophylactic doses by August time frame," added Schleifer.
Knowing the full gravity of the coronavirus situation, Schleifer announced that Regeneron will pursue clinical trials and drug manufacturing immediately.
"We can do this in parallel," said Schleifer to CNBC. "As soon as we get a green light that it looks good, we'll be able to deploy those large-scale approaches."
Regeneron was one of roughly 10 companies attending a meeting on Monday at the White House, where a discussion was held on the progress toward finding a treatment for the deadly coronavirus, presently spreading around the world.
As of writing, there are at least 91,300 cases of coronavirus globally, with at least 3,110 deaths. Within the U.S., there are at least 108 cases and at least nine deaths, so far.
Regeneron is developing its treatment under the purview of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, but it's not the only one working toward a solution to combat the deadly coronavirus. Moderna Therapeutics, Johnson & Johnson, and Sanofi Pasteur are also in the fight.
Cooperative, not competitive pharmaceutical race
Dr. John Shiver, Sanofi Pasteur's senior vice president of global vaccine research and development, and Schleifer are in agreement that pharmaceutical companies have to act cooperatively.
It seems in the face of coronavirus spreading around the world, big pharma companies aren't competing against one another, said Schleifer to CNBC. Instead, they are fighting the virus itself.
Of course, worries about the affordability of a potential treatment are not unwarranted. If companies are more interested in competing than solving the coronavirus crisis, prices could soar. But this isn't the case. "It doesn't do us any good, if we want to save lives, to make something that's not affordable," said Schleifer. "We will make this drug affordable."