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Merck Sharp & Dohme Enters Licensing Agreements with Indian Pharmaceuticals

Drug firm Merck Sharp & Dohme has decided to enter into voluntary licensing agreements for investigational oral antiviral drug candidate “molnupiravir”. This is being studied for the treatment of Covid-19, with Indian drug firms Sun Pharma, Cipla, Dr Reddy’s, Emcure Pharma and Hetero Labs.

Molnupiravir is an investigational oral antiviral agent, currently being studied in a Phase 3 trial for the treatment of non-hospitalised patients with confirmed Covid-19. Merck Sharp & Dohme India is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the firm and known as Merck & Co., Inc, in the United States and Canada.

The firm has decided to enter into non-exclusive voluntary licensing agreements for molnupiravir with five established Indian generic manufacturers, Cipla, Dr Reddy’s Laboratories, Emcure Pharmaceuticals, Hetero Labs and Sun Pharmaceutical Industries.These five manufacturers have World Health Organisation Pre-Qualified Manufacturing facilities and experience as major suppliers to global and low and middle-income countries procurers.Merck Sharp & Dohme has entered into these agreements to accelerate the availability of molnupiravir in India and in other LMICs following approvals or emergency authorisation by local regulatory agencies.

Kenneth C Frazier, CEO of Merck & Co, Inc, said that the agreements towards which we have been working as we have been studying molnupiravir will help to accelerate access to molnupiravir in India and around the world. The firm remains committed to aiding in the global response that will bring relief to the people of India and be an end to the pandemic. A statement officially passed by the firm said that they will also donate more than USD 5 million worth of oxygen-production equipment, masks, hand sanitiser and financial aid to support relief efforts in India.

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