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Merck Inks Supply Deal With Sinopharm To Commercialize COVID-19 Pills In China

  • Merck & Co Inc (NYSE: MRK) signed a cooperation framework agreement in China for its COVID-19 antiviral pills, which were co-developed by Ridgeback Therapeutics.

  • The pharma giant has granted Sinopharm exclusive import and distribution rights to Lagevrio (molnupiravir).

  • The companies will also negotiate the feasibility of a technical transfer under the framework so that the drug Molnupiravir could be produced and provided in the Chinese mainland market, Global Times reported.

  • While Pfizer's pills wowed the industry, reporting 89% effectiveness for reducing the chance of hospitalization and death, the efficacy figure for Merck's treatment was an underwhelming 30%.

  • Paxlovid has clearly become the favored treatment in the U.S. But Lagevrio has held it's own overseas, becoming the primary COVID therapy in certain countries, such as Japan.

  • Reuters reported that molnupiravir was once touted as a potential game changer for treating COVID-19, but Pfizer Inc's (NYSE: PFE) Paxlovid had significantly better results in its clinical trial and has been much more widely used in the U.S.

  • Price Action: MRK shares closed at $86.88 on Wednesday.

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