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Merck Seeks Emergency Nod In US For Molnupiravir To Treat Mild-to-moderate COVID-19

Merck & Co Inc. (MRK) has submitted an Emergency Use Authorization application to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for molnupiravir, an investigational oral antiviral medicine, for the treatment of mild-to-moderate COVID-19 in adults who are at risk for progressing to severe COVID-19 and/or hospitalization, Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutic said in a statement.

The companies said that they are working with regulatory agencies worldwide to submit applications for emergency use or marketing authorization in the coming months.

The submission is based on positive results from a planned interim analysis from the Phase 3 MOVe-OUT clinical trial, which evaluated molnupiravir in non-hospitalized adult patients with mild-to-moderate COVID-19 who were at risk for progressing to severe COVID-19 and/or hospitalization.

At the interim analysis, molnupiravir reduced the risk of hospitalization or death by approximately 50%; 7.3% of patients who received molnupiravir were either hospitalized or died through Day 29 following randomization, compared with 14.1% of placebo-treated patients, Merck said.

Through Day 29, no deaths were reported in patients who received molnupiravir, as compared to 8 deaths in patients who received placebo.

Merck noted that it has been producing molnupiravir at risk, in anticipation of the results from MOVe-OUT and the potential for regulatory authorization or approval. The company expects to produce 10 million courses of treatment by the end of 2021, with more courses expected to be produced in 2022.

Earlier this year, Merck entered into a procurement agreement with the U.S. Government under which the company will supply about 1.7 million courses of molnupiravir to the U.S. Government, upon EUA or approval from the U.S. FDA.

Additionally, Merck has entered into supply and advance purchase agreements for molnupiravir with other governments worldwide, pending regulatory authorization, and is currently in discussions with additional governments.

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