A logo on the Sanofi exhibition space at the Viva Technology conference on innovation and startups at the Porte de Versailles exhibition center in Paris, France, June 15, 2022.
Benoît Tessier | Reuters
shares of Sanofi And Regeneron both rose more than 6% on Thursday after the pharmaceutical companies released promising data showing their jointly developed asthma drug Dupixent also shows promise in treating COPD patients.
New data from a phase III clinical trial shows that Dupixent reduced severe attacks of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, by 30% compared to placebo over 52 weeks. The drug is already approved for asthma and some skin conditions like eczema, but could become the first new treatment for COPD in over a decade.
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COPD is a life-threatening respiratory disease that causes progressive deterioration of lung function, with symptoms such as persistent cough and shortness of breath that can affect a person’s ability to perform daily activities. According to the World Health Organization, it caused 3.2 million deaths worldwide in 2019, making it the third leading cause of death. Smoking is a major risk factor for COPD, but people who quit smoking can also develop the disease.
The study enrolled COPD patients with type 2 inflammation – an allergic reaction that can lead to reduced lung function. According to Regeneron, around 300,000 people with COPD are living with type 2 inflammation in the United States alone.
The more than 900 study participants were current or ex-smokers, and those who received Dupixent showed improvements in lung function, quality of life and respiratory symptoms. These results are a win for Dupixent as competing COPD drugs from drugmakers like AstraZeneca and GSK struggle to make successful strides toward approval.
“Change cannot come fast enough for people with uncontrolled COPD, but unfortunately many investigational treatments have not shown significant clinical outcomes, leaving limited treatment options available to these vulnerable patients,” said Dr. Dietmar Berger, Sanofi’s Chief Medical Officer, in a company press release. “We are excited to share these unprecedented and potentially paradigm-shifting clinical results that could bring renewed hope to patients, caregivers and physicians.”
The companies said a second phase 3 study of Dupixent in COPD is ongoing, with data expected in 2024.
Chris Schott, an analyst at JP Morgan, said Dupixent’s recent results have beaten expectations.
“This benefit indicates a clear, clinically meaningful advantage for Dupixent and should support broad adoption of the asset in this segment of the COPD market,” Schott wrote in a research note to clients on Thursday. He added that JP Morgan expects new COPD patients to contribute $1.5 billion to $2 billion in new sales for Dupixent.
Dupixent generated $8.7 billion in sales for Regeneron last year, up 40% from 2021.
Cowen analyst Steve Scala had a similar take on the new data, noting that COPD represents a major market opportunity for the drug.
“We expect a solid post-approval uptake from Dupixent,” he wrote in a note Thursday, adding, “We are very encouraged by positive data in COPD, which becomes a blockbuster opportunity for Dupixent and its growth trajectory through 2030+.” could extend.”