Merck Secures $1.2B CARES Act funds for Antiviral Therapy

Army Contracting Command has awarded Merck (NYSE: MRK) a one-year, $1.2 billion contract to deliver nearly 1.7 million courses of molnupiravir, an investigational oral antiviral agent intended to support the treatment of COVID-19 patients.

The Department of Defense said Wednesday the full contract amount was obligated on the firm-fixed-price contract using Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act funds.

Molnupiravir, also known as MK-4482, is undergoing a late-stage clinical trial, dubbed MOVe-OUT. Merck secured the contract through an online solicitation and will deliver the antiviral drug to the U.S. government once the Food and Drug Administration grants emergency use authorization.

Ridgeback Biotherapeutics works with Merck in the COVID-19 treatment development effort and the latter company expects more than 10 million courses of antiviral therapy to be available at the end of the year.

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