HHS and Regeneron to develop therapeutics for influenza and emerging pathogens


The US Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) has partnered with Regeneron Pharmaceuticals to develop new therapeutics to treat influenza and emerging infectious diseases.

As part of the public-private partnership deal, the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), a unit of ASPR, and Regeneron will share the oversight and cost of developing the entire portfolio of therapeutics.

BARDA will initially be responsible for contributing $18.7m to the project.

BARDA director Dr Rick Bright said: “Influenza and other emerging infectious diseases present serious threats to our nation’s health security.

“This partnership will support much-needed treatment options for those who are severely ill with influenza and the rapid drug development that is critical to saving lives when a new disease emerges.”

"This partnership will support much-needed treatment options for those who are severely ill with influenza and the rapid drug development that is critical to saving lives when a new disease emerges."

Under the collaboration, the products developed will add to the pharmaceutical company’s monoclonal antibody discovery platform used in creating treatments for the Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) coronavirus and Ebola.

Monoclonal antibodies are manufactured by a single clone of cells or a cell line with identical antibody molecules.

The antibodies bind to certain proteins of a virus to disable it, as well as strengthen the patient’s immune system to attack the virus-infected cells.

As part of the project, the Regeneron technology platform will be initially used to produce the latest monoclonal antibody treatment for patients hospitalised with severe influenza, as well as develop treatments for infections caused by pathogens that emerge in the future.

The platform can also be used in developing therapeutics rapidly at the time of a public health emergency.