Shares of the Regeneron Pharmaceuticals were up 3.6% at $645 in trading before the bell (Photo: Bloomberg)

Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc said on Monday it began late-stage clinical trials to assess the effectiveness of its antibody cocktail in preventing and treating COVID-19, sending its shares up nearly 4%.

The trial, run jointly with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), would test the therapy’s ability to prevent infection in those who have had close exposure to a COVID-19 patient.

The late-stage trial, to be conducted across 100 sites and expected to enroll 2,000 patients in the US, begins after an assessment of the antibody cocktail’s safety in an early-stage trial by an independent committee.

“We are pleased to collaborate with NIAID to study REGN-COV2 in our quest to further prevent the spread of the virus with an anti-viral antibody cocktail that could be available much sooner than a vaccine,” said Regeneron Chief Scientific Officer George Yancopoulos.

Shares of the drugmaker were up 3.6% at $645 in trading before the bell.

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