Regeneron widens its lead as the S&P 500's top performer after saying key COVID-19 drug may be available in the fall

Reuters/ Mike Segar

RegeneronPharmaceuticals shares surged more than 7% Tuesday, gaining on its lead as the top performing stock in the S&P 500 this year.

The pharmaceutical company on Tuesday reported first quarter 2020 results that exceeded Wall Street expectations. In addition,Regeneron announced Tuesday that it is advancing a key coronavirus antibody treatment with a goal to have “hundreds of thousands of preventative doses available by the end of August 2020.”

Regeneron has surged amid the coronavirus pandemic, gaining 44% for the year through Monday’s close – the best performing stock in the S&P 500 index for the period. It’s beaten out other big-name companies that have benefited from the crisis, including Amazon,Clorox, and Netflix.

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The pharmaceutical firm has gained as optimism grows that its experimental antibody drug will be an effective treatment for the coronavirus.

“Our novel antibody cocktail, REGN-COV2, which is specifically-designed for both prevention and treatment, is expected to begin human studies in June and we are working in parallel to have large-scale quantities available by late summer,” said Leonard S. Schleifer, M.D., Ph.D., president and CEO of Regeneron, in a statement.

There are other companies that are also working to quickly develop antibody treatments for COVID-19, including AstraZeneca,Vir Technologies, and Eli Lilly & Co. Gilead Sciences is also working on a treatment for COVID-19, but its drug remdesivir is an antiviral.

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