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Merck sees potential U.S. authorization for COVID-19 antiviral before year-end

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Sept 13 (Reuters) - Drugmaker Merck & Co Inc said on Monday it sees potential U.S. emergency use authorization for its experimental COVID-19 antiviral treatment, molnupiravir, before year-end.

"I would just say that our program is enrolling well, and we expect to be able to see clinical data in the back half of the year," Merck's Chief Executive Officer Robert Davis said at Morgan Stanley's Annual Global Healthcare Conference.

Merck and partner Ridgeback Biotherapeutics are conducting a late-stage trial of molnupiravir in non-hospitalized COVID-19 patients to see if it reduces the risk of hospitalization or death.

Merck in June said it expected to file for the emergency use authorization of molnupiravir in the second half of 2021 at the earliest. (Reporting by Manojna Maddipatla in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber)