Generic COVID-19 Oral Antiviral Production Begins
Geneva-based Medicines Patent Pool (MPP) announced today that it had signed agreements with twenty-seven generic manufacturing companies to produce Merck's oral COVID-19 antiviral molnupiravir and supply the pills to 105 low- and-middle-income countries (LMICs).
The sublicence agreements empower generic manufacturers to produce the raw ingredients for molnupiravir and/or the finished drug itself.
Furthermore, Merck, Ridgeback Biotherapeutics, nor Emory University, which invented the antiviral, will receive royalties from sales of molnupiravir from the MPP sublicensees while COVID-19 remains classified as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern by the World Health Organization.
"We are encouraged by the large number of new and existing partners that have moved quickly to secure a sublicence for molnupiravir through MPP," said Charles Gore, MPP Executive Director, in a press statement issued on January 20, 2022.
"This is a critical step toward ensuring global access to an urgently needed COVID-19 treatment, and we are confident that, as manufacturers are working closely with regulatory authorities, the anticipated treatments will be rapidly available in LMICs."
Since December 13, 2021, the U.S. government has released about 700,000 molnupiravir doses to U.S. states, territories, and agencies, including 399,920 released on January 11, 2022.
As of January 20, 2022, the U.S. NIH's OpenData Portal reported in vitro Therapeutic Activity against the Omicron variant. But, given the breaking nature of these releases, Omicron data should be interpreted with caution.
In various countries, Merck's molnupiravir is known as Lagevrio, Molxvir, or Molnulup.