Regeneron outlines a blockbuster future

To hear Reuters tell it this morning, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals is on the cusp of reaching biotech's center ring. The developer has a research budget this year of more than $700 million--with Sanofi Aventis providing $160 million--and will have data on seven late-stage trials.

If they're successful, Regeneron execs say they will have pivotal data on two potential blockbusters and a third drug that could earn $500 million a year.

"The cycle is getting to be in full swing," CEO Leonard Schleifer told Reuters. "We need a big hit on one of these drugs and then I think the world will start to pay a lot more attention to our pipeline" of new medicines.

In a separate release, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: REGN) presented some encouraging news on two of its antibody programs partnered with Sanofi-Aventis--though one appeared to offer mixed results for pain.

In a Phase I trial of the protein-blocking REGN727 the developer said that researchers tracked "highly significant lowering of mean LDL (bad) cholesterol," with a maximum reduction of more than 60 percent at the highest dose. A Phase II for REGN475 involving 217 patients suffering from osteoarthritis of the knee, meanwhile, hit its primary endpoint for safety and demonstrated improvements in average walking pain scores over 8 weeks.

"Preliminary analysis of interim efficacy data from a Phase 2 trial of REGN 475 in the acute setting of nerve root compression induced pain (acute sciatica) suggests that REGN475 therapy will not be effective in this setting," said the company in a statement. The Tarrytown, NY-based biotech says that it will discuss the details of the data at an investors gathering July 15. Its shares tracked up about four percent this morning.

- here's Regeneron's release on the new trial data
- read the Reuters profile