Merck Snags $1.2 Billion U.S. Contract for Experimental COVID-19 Therapy
The U.S. government will pay Merck an estimated $1.2 billion for 1.7 million courses of its experimental COVID-19 antiviral, molnupiravir, if the drug is authorized by the FDA. The contract would be awarded through HHS and the Department of Defense.
Co-developed with Ridgeback Biotherapeutics, molnupiravir is currently being evaluated in a global phase 3 study for reducing the risk of COVID-19-related hospitalization and death. The drug works by inducing genome copying errors to prevent the SAR-CoV-2 virus from replicating.
Results from the 1,850-participant trial are expected this fall and will be used to support the company’s request for FDA Emergency Use Authorization.