(Bloomberg) -- Roche Holding AG is working hard to rapidly boost supply of Covid-19 antibody treatments and will be able to make its first deliveries in the first quarter of next year, according to Chief Executive Officer Severin Schwan.
U.S. biotech Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. has filed in the U.S. for emergency authorization for an antibody cocktail it’s working on with Roche and that could be granted “very soon,” Schwan said Friday in an interview with Bloomberg Television.
“At Roche we’ll be able to provide supply in the first quarter,” he added, cautioning that availability will initially be limited and should be reserved for patients at high risk.
The two companies’ combined capacity next year will be about 2 million doses, Schwan said. That’s about half the number of new Covid-19 cases identified around the world last week, according to the World Health Organization.
The need for a broad range of treatment options has come into increased focus as some hoped-for therapies, including Gilead Sciences Inc.’s antiviral remdesivir, fall short.
“We’re working hard to ramp up production as fast as we can,” Schwan said. “No matter what, irrespective of other therapeutics, the demand for antibody cocktails will by far outstrip supply, so we have to make sure we target really the right patient groups.”
In the longer term, Roche is working to increase capacity, he said. The companies signed an agreement to work together on the two-antibody cocktail in August. Regeneron will distribute the medicine inside the U.S., while Roche handles distribution elsewhere.
(Updates with CEO comment in fourth paragraph. A previous version was corrected to show that Regeneron filed for emergency authorization in U.S.)
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