Merck Inks Deal To Share Antiviral Covid Pill With Poorer Countries
Merck announced Wednesday it has signed a licensing agreement with the United Nations-backed Medicines Patent Pool to boost access to its Covid-19 antiviral pill in poorer countries, a landmark deal at odds with the reticence of major vaccine makers to share their technology.
Merck has granted a royalty-free license for its experimental Covid-19 antiviral, molnupiravir, to the U.N.-backed Medicines Patent Pool (MPP), which would allow companies in 105 low- and middle-income countries to sublicense and make the drug.
Under the agreement, neither the drug’s developers—Merck and Miami-based Ridgeback Biotherapeutics—nor discoverer, Emory University, will receive royalties for the sale of molnupiravir so long as the World Health Organization classifies Covid-19 as a public health emergency of international concern.
Charles Gore, MPP’s executive director, said the agreement is the organization’s first voluntary license for a Covid-19 medical technology, a development he hopes will encourage other pharmaceutical firms to follow suit.
Merck has already struck deals with several generics manufacturers around the world to make cheaper versions of the drug and vowed to increase its own supplies as well.
News Credit: www.forbes.com