Link maker

Merck’s COVID-19 Antiviral Pill Has Vital Indian Connection, Manufacturer Everest Organics Sees Share Price To Soar

Merck said Monday it has applied for emergency use authorization from the United States for the drug. (To file)


Indian company Everest Organics Ltd said on Tuesday it had started making the active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) of a generic version of Merck & Co’s investigational antiviral drug, molnupiravir, to treat mild to moderate COVID-19.

Shares of Everest Organics jumped 11.6% after the news broke, and last rose 9.9% to Rs 330 in a weak Mumbai market. The Indian bulk drug maker joins Divi’s Laboratories Ltd as API maker for Merck’s investigational oral drug.

Merck has separately entered into voluntary licensing agreements with at least eight Indian generic drug manufacturers for molnupiravir, with the aim of making the country a hub for manufacturing the drug.

“Following the successful development and commercialization of various COVID-19 drugs such as Oseltamivir, Remdesivir … Everest Organics is on the path to expanding this portfolio,” CEO Srikakarlapudi Sirisha said in a statement.

Merck said Monday it has applied for emergency use authorization for the drug from the United States, putting molnupiravir on track to become the first oral antiviral drug for COVID-19.

The U.S. clearance request was based on data released earlier this month by Merck and its partner Ridgeback Biotherapeutics.

Data showed that molnupiravir almost halved the risk of hospitalization or death in outpatient at-risk patients with mild to moderate COVID-19.

(Except for the title, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and is posted from a syndicated feed.)