MSD signs voluntary licensing agreements with five Indian pharma firms for Molnupiravir

The agreements have been signed with Cipla, Dr Reddy’s Laboratories, Emcure Pharmaceuticals, Hetero Labs and Sun Pharmaceutical Industries

MSD Pharmaceuticals, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Merck Sharp & Dohme and known as Merck & Co in the United States and Canada, has announced that the company has decided to enter into non-exclusive voluntary licensing agreements for molnupiravir with five established Indian generic manufacturers.

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. MSD is developing molnupiravir in collaboration with Ridgeback Biotherapeutics.

MSD has entered into these agreements to accelerate the availability of molnupiravir in India and in other low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) following approvals or emergency authorisation by local regulatory agencies.

“The scale of human suffering in India at this moment is devastating, and it is clear that more must be done to help alleviate it. These agreements, toward which we have been working as we have been studying molnupiravir, will help to accelerate access to molnupiravir in India and around the world,” said Kenneth C Frazier, Chairman and CEO, Merck &Co, US.

The agreements have been signed with CIPLA, Dr REDDY’s Laboratories, EMCURE Pharmaceuticals, HETERO Labs and SUN Pharmaceutical Industries. Under the agreements, Merck &Co, US will provide licenses to these manufacturers to supply molnupiravir to India and more than 100 LMICs. Merck &Co, US is also in discussions with the Medicines Patent Pool to explore the potential for additional licenses.

“Through partnerships with established Indian generics manufacturers, we are reinforcing our commitment towards expanding access to molnupiravir in India. We look forward to collaborating with these partners and supporting them in advancing our mission of improving lives.  We are in talks with the Government and other key stakeholders as we remain committed to expanding equitable access to medicines and bringing innovative treatments to the country,” said Rehan A Khan, MD, MSD-India Region

Separately, Merck &Co will also donate more than $5 million worth of oxygen-production equipment, masks, hand sanitiser and financial aid to support relief efforts in India.

antiviral agentCiplaCovid-19 treatmentDr Reddy's LaboratoriesEmcure Pharmaceuticalsemergency authorisationHetero LabsmolnupiravirMSD PharmaceuticalsSun Pharmaceutical Industriesvoluntary licensing agreements
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