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Merck To Share License For Oral COVID-19 Antiviral Medicine With Developing Countries

Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK) said Wednesday that it has signed a voluntary licensing deal with the UN-backed Medicines Patent Pool to facilitate affordable global access for molnupiravir, an investigational oral COVID-19 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 noted that the agreement will help create broad access for molnupiravir use in 105 low- and middle-income countries following appropriate regulatory approvals.

Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics are jointly developing molnupiravir.

As per the terms of the deal, Medicines Patent Pool, through the license granted by Merck, will be permitted to further license non-exclusive sublicenses to manufacturers and diversify the manufacturing base for the supply of quality-assured or WHO-prequalified molnupiravir to countries covered by the MPP License, subject to local regulatory authorization.

Merck, Ridgeback Biotherapeutics and Emory University will not receive royalties for sales of molnupiravir under the agreement for as long as COVID-19 remains classified as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern by the World Health Organization.

Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics recently announced the submission of an Emergency Use Authorization application for molnupiravir to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and are actively working with additional regulatory agencies worldwide.

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