Shares of the pharmaceutical companies Sanofi and Regeneron boomed by over six percent on Thursday following the announcement that one of their shared drugs used for asthma might also treat COPD.
Dupilumab, sold under the brand name Dupixent, is a monoclonal antibody that is injected into the body and is processed differently from pills or steroids. The medicine has been used to treat allergic diseases such as eczema, asthma and nasal polyps, which result in chronic sinusitis.
Now it might be successfully treating what’s commonly known as “smoker’s cough.”
CNBC writes, “New data from a phase three clinical trial shows Dupixent reduced bad bouts of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, by 30% compared with a placebo over 52 weeks. The drug is already approved for asthma and some skin conditions like eczema, but it could become the first new treatment in over a decade for COPD.
The trial enrolled COPD patients with type 2 inflammation – an allergic response that can result in decreased lung function. Roughly 300,000 people in the U.S. alone live with COPD with type 2 inflammation, according to Regeneron.
The more than 900 participants in the trial were current or former smokers, and those who received Dupixent showed improvements in lung function, quality of life and respiratory symptoms. Those results are a win for Dupixent as competing COPD drugs from drugmakers like AstraZeneca and GSK struggle to make successful strides toward approval.
‘Change cannot come quick enough for people living with uncontrolled COPD but, unfortunately, many investigational treatments have failed to demonstrate significant clinical outcomes leaving these vulnerable patients with limited treatment options,” said Dr. Dietmar Berger, Sanofi’s chief medical officer, in a company press release. “We are excited to share these unprecedented and potentially paradigm-shifting clinical results, which may give new hope to patients, caregivers and physicians.’”
The Mayo Clinic writes, “Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a chronic inflammatory lung disease that causes obstructed airflow from the lungs. Symptoms include breathing difficulty, cough, mucus (sputum) production and wheezing. It’s typically caused by long-term exposure to irritating gases or particulate matter, most often from cigarette smoke. People with COPD are at increased risk of developing heart disease, lung cancer and a variety of other conditions.
Emphysema and chronic bronchitis are the two most common conditions that contribute to COPD. These two conditions usually occur together and can vary in severity among individuals with COPD.
Chronic bronchitis is inflammation of the lining of the bronchial tubes, which carry air to and from the air sacs (alveoli) of the lungs. It’s characterized by daily cough and mucus (sputum) production.
Emphysema is a condition in which the alveoli at the end of the smallest air passages (bronchioles) of the lungs are destroyed as a result of damaging exposure to cigarette smoke and other irritating gases and particulate matter.”
Having a drug already in production that might cure, or at least relieve, COPD would mean big bucks for Sanofi and Regeneron.