Everest Organics starts making ingredient for Merck’s Covid-19 pill; shares jump over 11%


BENGALURU: Everest Organics said Tuesday that it had begun manufacturing the active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) for a generic version of Merck & Co’s experimental antiviral drug molnupiravir to treat mild to moderate Covid-19.
Everest Organics shares rose as much as 11.6% after the news, and rose 9.9% to Rs 330 in a weak market.
Bulk drug maker joins Divi’s Laboratories as API maker for Merck’s experimental oral drug.
Merck has separately entered into voluntary licensing agreements with at least eight generic drug manufacturers for molnupiravir, with the goal of turning the country into a manufacturing hub for the drug.
“After the successful development and commercialization of various Covid-19 drugs such as Oseltamivir, Remdesivir … Everest Organics is on its way to expand this portfolio,” Chief Executive Officer Srikakarlapudi Sirisha said in a statement.
Merck said Monday that it had applied for U.S. emergency use authorization for the drug, putting molnupiravir on track to become the first oral antiviral drug for Covid-19.
The US authorization request was based on data published earlier this month by Merck and its partner Ridgeback Biotherapeutics.
The data showed that molnupiravir nearly halved the risk of hospitalization or death in non-hospitalized patients at risk with mild to moderate Covid-19.

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