Merck in supply deal with U.S. government for its COVID-19 treatment

(Reuters) -Merck & Co said on Wednesday it will supply about 60,000-100,000 doses of its COVID-19 treatment to the U.S. government for up to about $356 million.

The agreement will help support advanced development and large-scale manufacturing of Merck’s investigational therapeutic MK-7110 to treat hospitalized patients with severe or critical COVID-19, The U.S. Department of the Health and Human Services said.

The funding allows for development of MK-7110, including completing activities required to request Emergency Use Authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and for delivery of up to 100,000 doses by June 30, 2021.

In November, Merck agreed to acquire OncoImmune in a $425 million deal that gave it control of the drug.

The data from September showed that the therapy, which is administered as an injection, increased the likelihood of symptom improvement in serious COVID-19 cases and also reduced the risk of respiratory failure and death.

Reporting by Ankur Banerjee in Bengaluru; Editing by Bernard Orr and Shailesh Kuber