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Merck and Ridgeback Therapeutics will supply UNICEF with up to three million capsules of molnupiravir through the first half of 2022.
Merck, known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics announced the signing of a long-term supply agreement with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) on Jan. 18, 2022. The agreement will see Merck allocate up to 3 million capsules of its COVID-10 medicine, molnupiravir, to UNICEF throughout the first half of 2022. UNICEF intends to distribute these in more than 100 low- and middle-income countries.
Developed in conjunction with Ridgeback Biotherapeutics, molnupiravir is an investigational oral antiviral medicine designed to treat symptoms of COVID-19. It is a nucleoside analog that is designed to inhibit the replication of SARS-CoV-2, the causative agent of COVID-19. Currently, it is authorized for use in over 10 countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, and Japan.
“Merck is delivering on our commitment to make molnupiravir available — widely, quickly and equitably. Through this groundbreaking agreement with UNICEF, millions of patients in more than 100 low- and middle-income countries will gain access to molnupiravir through UNICEF and the ACT Accelerator Therapeutics Partnership in the first half of 2022,” said Robert M. Davis, CEO and president, Merck, in the press release. “I am proud of the fact that patients in these low- and middle-income countries will gain access at the same time as patients in countries with higher incomes.”
“As part of our commitment to ensuring access to critical medicines, we picked Merck as our partner for molnupiravir because of our shared commitment to ensuring global, affordable availability. Molnupiravir, which can be efficiently delivered to low- and middle-income countries, can play a significant role in global efforts to address the pandemic,” said Wendy Holman, CEO, Ridgeback Biotherapeutics, in the press release. “We are proud of this agreement with UNICEF to help address global health challenges and inequities by making molnupiravir accessible to patients around the world.”