US awards Merck $356M contract to make COVID-19 drug

The U.S. has given Merck a $356 million contract to supply up to 100,000 doses of an investigational drug that helped severe COVID-19 patients recover in clinical trials, the drugmaker said Dec. 23. 

Merck acquired the drug, called MK-7110, when it bought Oncolmunne, a private, clinical-stage drugmaker. In clinical trials, 75 percent of patients who received the drug showed a higher probability of improved clinical status compared to the placebo group. The drug also reduced the risk of death or respiratory failure by more than 50 percent. 

Under the contract, if the drug receives emergency approval from the FDA, Merck is to make and supply the U.S. with 60,000 to 100,000 doses of the drug by June 30. 

Read the full news release here.


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