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Regeneron to stop giving placebo in COVID-19 drug trial after 'clear efficacy'

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Feb 25 (Reuters) - Regeneron Pharmaceuticals said on Thursday that an independent panel found the company's COVID-19 antibody cocktail to have "clear clinical efficacy" in reducing the rates of hospitalization and deaths in patients.

The cocktail, a combination of two antibodies casirivimab and imdevimab, was authorized in November for emergency use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Independent Data Monitoring Committee found that both 1,200mg and 2,400mg doses of the cocktail had reduced the rate of hospitalization and deaths compared with placebo, according to the company. The panel has recommended that Regeneron should stop enrolling patients in the placebo group for its ongoing late-stage trial.

The company plans to immediately follow the panel's recommendation and also share details of unblinded data from the trial once it becomes available in March.

The Regeneron treatment is part of a class of drugs known as monoclonal antibodies, which are manufactured copies of antibodies created by the human body to fight infections.

In January, the U.S. government said it will buy 1.25 million additional doses of Regeneron Pharmaceuticals' COVID-19 antibody cocktail for about $2.63 billion, bringing the total supply of the treatment to more than 1.5 million doses. (Reporting by Vishwadha Chander in Bengaluru, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)