American pharma ties up with Indian manufacturers to develop oral med for COVID-19


United States-based pharmaceutical company, MSD Pharmaceuticals, as a subsidy of Merck & Co., has entered into non-exclusive voluntary licensing agreements with five top Indian generic manufacturers for supply of molnupiravir, an investigational oral antiviral agent currently being studied in a Phase-3 trial for the treatment of non-hospitalized patients with confirmed COVID-19, in India.

MSD which is developing molnupiravir in collaboration with Ridgeback Biotherapeutics has entered into these agreements to accelerate the availability of molnupiravir in India and in other low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) following approvals or emergency authorization by local regulatory agencies, it said

“These agreements, toward which we have been working as we have been studying molnupiravir, will help to accelerate access to molnupiravir in India and around the world,” said Kenneth C. Frazier, chairman and CEO, Merck & Co., Inc., U.S.

“We remain committed to aiding in the global response that will bring relief to the people of India and, ultimately, bring an end to the pandemic,” the chairman & CEO said.

The agreements have been signed with Cipla Ltd., Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories, Emcure Pharmaceuticals Ltd., Hetero Labs Ltd. and Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd.

Under the agreements, Merck & Co., Inc., U.S. will provide licenses to these manufacturers to supply molnupiravir to India.

Merck & Co., Inc., U.S. is also in discussions with the Medicines Patent Pool to explore the potential for additional licenses.

“Through partnerships with established Indian generics manufacturers, we are reinforcing our commitment towards expanding access to molnupiravir in India,” said Rehan A. Khan, managing director, MSD-India Region.

“We look forward to collaborating with these partners and supporting them in advancing our mission of improving lives. We are in talks with the government and other key stakeholders as we remain committed to expanding equitable access to medicines and bringing innovative treatments to the country,” he said.

Molnupiravir (EIDD-2801/MK-4482) is an investigational, orally bioavailable form of a potent ribonucleoside analog that inhibits the replication of multiple RNA viruses including SARS-CoV-2, the causative agent of COVID-19.