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April 28, 2021

Coronavirus company news summary – Merck signs agreements for molnupiravir production in India – Ireland approves AZ and J&J vaccines for use in over-50s

By Chris Lo

Merck has signed non-exclusive voluntary licensing agreements with five generic pharmaceutical manufacturers in India to accelerate access to investigational oral antiviral agent molnupiravir amid a surge in coronavirus cases in the country. The manufacturers with whom Merck has signed the agreements include Cipla, Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories, Emcure Pharmaceuticals, Hetero Labs and Sun Pharmaceutical Industries.

The Irish government has approved the Covid-19 vaccines developed by Johnson & Johnson (J&J) and AstraZeneca for administration to people over the age of 50. Administration of J&J’s vaccine was previously paused, while AstraZeneca’s vaccine was only approved for use in people over the age of 60 – both jabs have been the subject of safety reviews into potential links to rare blood clot events. Ireland plans to vaccinate 80% of its adult population by the end of June.

Ampion, a novel biologic drug developed by US-based pharmaceutical company Ampio Pharmaceuticals, has demonstrated positive results in the AP-014 Phase I clinical trial for treating respiratory distress in Covid-19 patients. The study met its primary endpoint and showed an 80% reduction in mortality rates.

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