Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) and its partner Ridgeback Biotherapeutics will sell approximately 1.6 million courses of the COVID-19 antiviral molnupiravir (MK-4482, EIDD-2801) to the Japanese government.
In related news, Thailand announced that it intends to purchase 50,000 courses of the drug while Taiwan plans on obtaining 10,000 courses.
The U.S. plans on purchasing roughly 3.1 million courses of molnupiravir.
Assuming molnupiravir receives authorization or approval in Japan, Merck stands to gain approximately $1.2 billion to cover the 1.6 million courses. That equates to roughly $750 per course — slightly higher than the going rate in the U.S.
The company has also taken steps to ensure the drug is affordable in developing countries. For example, it is offering tiered pricing based on nations’ economic means and has also granted voluntary licenses to generic manufacturers and the Medicines Patent Pool.
Merck aims to manufacture 10 million courses of the drug by the end of the year and at least 20 million courses in 2022.
Filed Under: Infectious Disease