Kevzara puts another nail into Covid-19 “cytokine storm”


Kevzara’s second failure in Covid-19 could put to bed the cytokine storm theory in coronavirus infection – as far as the Sanofi/Regeneron drug is concerned, anyway. What it means for other IL-6-blocking antibodies is less clear. The most prominent of these, Roche’s rheumatoid arthritis drug Actemra, has already been added to Chinese emergency use guidelines, though the only data backing it have come from a small, academic, French study. Yesterday Sanofi and Regeneron said a phase II/III study of Kevzara plus standard of care in Covid-19 patients on ventilators had failed to yield an improvement versus standard of care alone. In April the same study had its less-severe hospitalised patient cohort scrapped after an interim analysis showed no benefit. The theory that surges in cytokines including IL-6 cause coronavirus patients to become severely ill is controversial (Making sense of Covid-19 treatment approaches, March 25, 2020). Apart from Sanofi/Regeneron’s two Kevzara trials, 13 other studies of the drug in Covid-19 are being run with academic sponsorship, according to And Kevzara’s makers are not giving up yet, either: a separate trial in 2,500 severe Covid-19 subjects is continuing, and should read out in the third quarter.

Selected antibodies blocking IL-6
Project Company Clinical work in Covid-19 infection
Actemra (tocilizumab) Roche Phase 3 Roche study, and ~50 others run by academia
Kevzara (sarilumab) Sanofi 2 company-sponsored studies and 13 others run by academia
Clazakizumab CSL Investigator-initiated trials only
Sylvant (siltuximab) Eusa Pharma Investigator-initiated trials only
Levilimab (BCD-089) Biocad Company-sponsored study
Sirukumab Johnson & Johnson Company-sponsored study
Olokizumab UCB/R-Pharm Company-sponsored study
TZLS-501 Tiziana Clinical trial planned
Satralizumab Chugai None
Vobarilizumab Abbvie None
MEDI5117 Astrazeneca None
FB704A Fountain Biopharma None
Source: EvaluatePharma &

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