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Merck In Talks To Possibly Produce COVID-19 Shots: WSJ

Vandana Singh
·1 min read
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  • According to the Wall Street Journal, Merck & Co Inc (NYSE: MRK) is reportedly in talks with governments and companies to potentially help with the manufacturing of COVID-19 vaccines that have already been authorized.

  • The supply of COVID-19 shots remains limited, prompting the vaccine-makers such as Pfizer Inc (NYSE: PFE) and BioNTech SE (NASDAQ: BNTX) to team up with other companies to fill the gap. Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd's (NYSE: TEVA) Chief Executive Kare Schultz said the company is in talks with companies to help manufacture shots.

  • Merck halted the development of its two COVID-19 vaccines in January after early trials showed both vaccines generated immune responses that were inferior to those seen in people who had recovered from COVID-19 as well as those reported for other COVID-19 vaccines.

  • Though, Merck has built out its portfolio of COVID-19 medicines through a series of deals in recent months. It includes a 5 million OncoImmune Acquisition, from which the results of a late-stage study is expected by the end of March. Another therapy, oral antiviral dubbed as Ridgeback Biotherapeutics developed molnupiravir, is in Phase 2/3 trial for hospitalized and outpatient COVID-19 patients. Early data from a trial is expected as early as the first quarter.

  • Merck had acquired Themis, which is working on a COVID-19 vaccine candidate. It has also collaborated with IAVI, a nonprofit scientific research organization, to develop an investigational vaccine against SARS-CoV-2.

  • Price Action: MRK shares closed 0.2% lower at $74.89 on Wednesday.

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