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November 05, 2021

Merck and The Medicines Patent Pool Enter into License Agreement for Investigational Oral Antiviral COVID-19 Treatment

Merck has signed an agreement to license its investigational oral antiviral COVID-19 treatment, molnupiravir, to Medicines Patent Pool (MPP). According to the press release, “[t]he Medicines Patent Pool (MPP) is a United Nations-backed public health organization working to increase access to, and facilitate the development of, life-saving medicines for low- and middle-income countries.”

The licensing agreement with MPP will allow generic manufacturers to obtain a sub-license from MPP, and these sub-licenses will remain royalty-free for as long as the World Health Organization classifies the COVID-19 situation as a “Public Health Emergency of International Concern.” The sub-licenses will facilitate the diversification of the manufacturing base, creating broad access in 105 low- and middle-income countries.

Data indicate that molnupiravir is effective for several applications related to SARS-CoV-2, including for prophylaxis, treatment, and prevention of transmission. Additionally, data also indicate that molnupiravir is active against the most common SARS-CoV-2 variants. Merck and co-developer Ridgeback Biotherapeutics recently filed for Emergency Use Authorization with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Additionally, the European Medicines Agency is conducting an ongoing review of molnupiravir for the treatment of COVID-19 in adults.