Aurobindo Pharma to stop molnupiravir trial in moderate COVID-19 patients – Reuters

An experimental COVID-19 treatment pill called molnupiravir being developed by Merck & Co Inc and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics LP, is seen in this undated handout photo released by Merck & Co Inc and obtained by Reuters May 17, 2021. Merck & Co Inc/Handout via REUTERS

BENGALURU, Oct 8 (Reuters) – Two Indian drugmakers Aurobindo Pharma Ltd (ARBN.NS) and MSN Laboratories want to discontinue their respective late-stage trials of Merck & Co’s (MRK.N) experimental antiviral drug molnupiravir in moderate COVID-19 patients.

Both the pharmaceutical firms, however, will continue their separate trials in mild COVID-19 patients, according to a statement by the Indian drug regulator’s expert committee on Friday.

Merck had signed a voluntary licensing pact with Aurobindo Pharma for the oral drug molnupiravir, earlier this year. Aurobindo Pharma has been conducting a clinical trial of molnupiravir in 100 patients with moderate COVID-19 since August this year. (https://bit.ly/2WYn61G)

Molnupiravir has shown no significant efficacy against moderate COVID-19 cases, a drug regulator source told Reuters separately. read more

The drug regulator has not yet taken a call on the eight companies that have applied for a molnupiravir licence, the source added.

A joint trial for the antiviral drug is currently being conducted by five Indian generic drugmakers only in mild COVID-19 patients in an outpatient setting.

In July, earlier this year, pharmaceutical company Hetero had announced interim data from a late-stage trial in mild COVID-19 patients and submitted an application for emergency use approval for the same.

Reporting by Shivani Singh in Bengaluru and Neha Arora in New Delhi; Editing by Rashmi Aich

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