9. CD24Fc recombinant fusion protein
Description: Researchers are testing the recombinant fusion protein CD24Fc in patients with severe COVID-19 infections requiring hospitalizations.
Containing a cell surface protein known as “CD24” and another from an antibody known as “Fc,” CD24Fc was an experimental drug from a privately-held biopharmaceutical company OncoImmune. Merck negotiated a deal to acquire the company and its CD24Fc therapy in November for $425 million.
Merck also has two COVID-19 vaccines in development, although they are in an earlier stage of development than those from top rivals.
Development status: The CD24Fc protein is undergoing testing in a Phase 3 trial focusing on severely ill hospitalized COVID-19 patients.