Sanofi and Regeneron share pop after data shows asthma drug Dupixent can also treat COPD
A logo on the Sanofi exhibition space during the Viva Technology conference dedicated to innovation and startups at the Porte de Versailles exhibition center in Paris, France on June 15, 2022.
Benoit Tessier | Reuters
Shares of Sanofi And Regenerate the two jumped more than 6% on Thursday after the drug companies released promising data showing their jointly developed asthma drug Dupixent also shows promise in treating patients with COPD.
New data from a Phase 3 clinical trial shows that Dupixent reduced episodes of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, by 30% compared to a placebo over 52 weeks. The drug is already approved for asthma and certain skin conditions like eczema, but it could become the first new treatment in more than a decade for COPD.
COPD is a life-threatening respiratory disease that causes a progressive decline in lung function, with symptoms like a persistent cough and shortness of breath that can hamper an individual’s ability to carry out daily activities. It caused 3.2 million deaths worldwide in 2019, making it the third leading cause of death, according to the World Health Organization. Smoking is a key risk factor for COPD, but people who quit smoking can also develop the disease.
The trial recruited COPD patients with type 2 inflammation – an allergic reaction that can lead to decreased lung function. About 300,000 people in the United States alone live with COPD with type 2 inflammation, according to Regeneron.
The more than 900 participants in the trial were current or former smokers, and those who received Dupixent showed improvements in lung function, quality of life and respiratory symptoms. The results are a win for Dupixent as competing COPD drugs from drugmakers like AstraZeneca and GSK struggle to move toward approval.
“Change cannot come fast enough for people with uncontrolled COPD but, unfortunately, many experimental treatments have failed to demonstrate meaningful clinical results, leaving these patients vulnerable with limited treatment options,” he said. said Dr. Dietmar Berger, chief medical officer of Sanofi, in a company press release. “We are thrilled to share these unprecedented and potentially game-changing clinical results, which could give new hope to patients, caregivers and physicians.”
The companies said a second phase three trial of Dupixent in COPD is underway, with data expected in 2024.
JP Morgan analyst Chris Schott said Dupixent’s latest results beat expectations.
“This benefit suggests a clinically meaningful advantage for Dupixent and should support broad utilization of the asset in this segment of the COPD market,” Schott wrote in a research note to clients Thursday. He added that JP Morgan expects to see new COPD patients add $1.5 billion to $2 billion in new sales for Dupixent.
Dupixent reported $8.7 billion in revenue last year for Regeneron, a 40% increase from 2021.
Cowen analyst Steve Scala shared a similar view of the new data, noting that COPD represents a major market opportunity for the drug.
“We expect strong adoption of Dupixent once approved,” he wrote in a note Thursday, adding, “We are strongly encouraged by positive COPD data that could become a successful opportunity for Dupixent and extend its growth trajectory to 2030+…”