Please login to the form below

Not currently logged in

Merck & Co halts development of potential COVID-19 drug MK-7110

Pharma company has abandoned drug due to technical, clinical and regulatory uncertainties

Merck & Co – known as MSD outside the US and Canada – has announced that it will discontinue development of its potential COVID-19 treatment MK-7110.

The company acquired MK-7110, a recombinant fusion protein, as part of its acquisition of OncoImmune in December 2020.

Following the acquisition, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) told Merck & Co that additional data, as well as a study already conducted by OncoImmune, would be required to support a potential emergency use authorisation application for MK-7110.

Merck & Co said that the additional research required would mean that MK-7110 would not become available until the first half of 2022.

The timescale for potential clinical development, coupled with technical, clinical and regulatory uncertainties have factored into Merck & Co’s decision to discontinue the MK-7110 programme for patients hospitalised with COVID-19.

The company also highlighted other reasons for the decision, including the availability of other medicines for hospitalised COVID-19 patients.

“Merck is now focusing its efforts on advancing molnupiravir, which, as an oral medicine for outpatient use, represents a promising potential new approach, and on accelerating production of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine,” said Roy Baynes, senior vice president and head of global clinical development, chief medical officer, Merck Research Laboratories.

Also this week, Merck & Co and its development partner Ridgeback Biotherapeutics said the clinical development of its investigational COVID-19 antiviral therapy molnupiravir in hospitalised patients with COVID-19 would not progress to phase 3.

However, the companies also announced that another study of the antiviral therapy in the COVID-19 outpatient setting, would proceed to phase 3, based on a planned interim analysis of data from the phase 2 portion of the trial.

Merck & Co and Ridgeback previously reported some promising results for molnupiravir in a phase 2a trial evaluating the drug’s safety, tolerability and efficacy in eliminating SARS-CoV-2 viral RNA in non-hospitalised adults who had signs or symptoms of COVID-19.

According to the early data, presented at the 2021 Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections, molnupiravir led to a 'quicker decrease in infectious virus among individuals with early COVID-19'.

At day five of molnupiravir treatment, there was a reduction in positive viral culture in subjects who received the experimental drug compared to placebo – 0% for molnupiravir and 24% for placebo.

Article by
Lucy Parsons

15th April 2021

From: Research



COVID-19 Updates and Daily News

Featured jobs


Add my company

We find the soul in the science, the humanity in the data, harnessing the power of creativity to deliver medical...

Latest intelligence

How innovating study sites can improve patient recruitment efficiency
There are so many ways that clinical trials have innovated over the last few years. There is now a larger focus on making trials more patient-centric, more virtualised, and more...
Avoiding A Series of Unfortunate Events: launch lessons from lockdown
Chris Ross takes a novel look at launch excellence through the lens of COVID-19 and explores how pharma’s launch leaders are rewriting the story...
6 reasons patients drop out of clinical trials and 6 ways to fix it
If you’ve successfully recruited patients for your clinical trial, but one by one, they begin to drop out, then this information could be for you....