Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics yesterday signed a long-term supply agreement with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to facilitate broad global access for Molnupiravir. Under the agreement, Merck will allocate up to three million courses of Molnupiravir to UNICEF throughout the first half of 2022 for distribution in more than 100 Low- and Middle-Income Countries (LMICs) following regulatory authorisations. Merck is developing Molnupiravir in collaboration with Ridgeback Biotherapeutics and it has been authorised for use in more than 10 countries, including in the US, the UK and Japan, Merck said in a statement.
The statement also said that to accelerate broad global access for Molnupiravir upon authorisation or approval, Merck’s comprehensive supply and access approach includes investing at risk to produce millions of courses of therapy, granting voluntary licences to generic manufacturers and to the Medicines Patent Pool to help increase affordable, quality-assured supply in the developing world, and entering into supply agreements with governments and other organisations, including this agreement with the UNICEF.
Merck entered into a procurement agreement with the US government under which the company will supply approximately 3.1 million courses of Molnupiravir to the US government, upon Emergency Use Authorisation (EUA) or approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Merck has entered into advance purchase and supply agreements for Molnupiravir with governments for over 30 countries worldwide, including Australia, Canada, Korea, Japan, Thailand, the UK and the US, pending regulatory authorisations, and is currently in discussions with additional governments. The company plans to implement a tiered pricing approach based on World Bank country income criteria to reflect countries’ relative ability to finance their health response to the pandemic, the statement further mentioned.
Merck had previously announced that it has entered into a licensing agreement with the Medicines Patent Pool to increase broad access for Molnupiravir in LMICs. Additionally, Merck previously announced that the company has entered into non-exclusive voluntary licensing agreements for Molnupiravir with established generic manufacturers to accelerate availability of Molnupiravir in more than 100 LMICs following approvals or emergency authorisation by local regulatory agencies, it added.