asked federal regulators Wednesday for emergency authorization to distribute the antibody cocktail that President Donald Trump received when he was treated for Covid-19 last weekend. Without waiting for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to weigh in, Trump tweeted a video in which he called the treatment “a cure” and said “I’ve authorized it.”
Although the president has no official role in such scientific decisions, Trump’s treatment with the antibodies surely won’t hurt prospects for the experimental product of Regeneron (ticker: REGN), or for a similar antibody treatment that
(LLY) submitted for emergency use authorization earlier this week. Until recently, many investors thought the opportunity for such Covid treatments would be truncated by the arrival of vaccines. Now analysts forecast billions of dollars in sales.
In Thursday morning trading, Regeneron stock is up 2.2% to $605.02, while Lilly stock is up 2.8% to $153.16.
The antibodies could find use in infected patients before and after the authorization of vaccines, which can’t occur before the readouts from pivotal clinical trials sponsored by a crowd that includes
Johnson & Johnson
(JNJ). Those results aren’t expected before late November or early December. Meanwhile, the vaccine makers are stockpiling production. Johnson & Johnson announced a deal Thursday morning to supply European governments with 200 million doses.
While Trump raised the profile of the antibody treatments by getting sick, he got a failing grade for his management of the Covid crisis on Wednesday from the most prestigious scientific journal in medicine, The New England Journal of Medicine.
“The magnitude of this failure is astonishing,” said the unusually stark editorial by the journal’s editors, who noted that the U.S. leads the world in Covid cases and deaths. After detailing what it says was the Trump administration’s preference for politics over science, the journal concludes, “Anyone else who recklessly squandered lives and money in this way would be suffering legal consequences.”
“We have failed at almost every step,” fumed the journal, whose scientific imprimatur is sought for the validation studies of every developer of a Covid remedy. The editorial ends by saying Trump should be fired by voters.
Write to Bill Alpert at [email protected]