China's large vaccine producer Sinopharm and US pharmaceutical giant Merck Sharp & Dohme (MSD) signed a cooperation framework agreement on Wednesday, Sept. 28, the Global Times reported.
Under the agreement Sinopharm would be an exclusive dealer of MSD's antiviral COVID-19 medicine in China.
According to the statement, Sinopharm would actively promote the localization of production and provision of Molnupiravir treatment after MSD transfers the techniques in order to help China to fight the pandemic, according to the statement.
Molnupiravir has been approved or put into emergency use in more than 40 countries and regions including the US, EU, Australia, Japan and South Korea, as well as China's Hong Kong and Taiwan regions. As of the end of August, MSD had delivered 8.6 million courses of Molnupiravir to about 30 markets and treated more than 1.8 million patients.
According to a study released in early August in the New England Journal of Medicine, some small-molecule antiviral drugs including Molnupiravir may have therapeutic value against the sublineages BA.2.12.1, BA.4, and BA.5 of SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variants, the Global Times reported.
Sinopharm Chairman Liu Jingzhen hoped that the two sides could exploit each other's advantages, enhance international cooperation, and provide Chinese patients as soon as possible with qualified, accessible and affordable drugs.
Rob Davis, chief executive officer and president of MSD, said in a statement that MSD is very happy to cooperate with Sinopharm to provide China with the treatment:
"It's our latest major effort to help the world combat the pandemic and promote the global usage of the treatment."
Source: The Global Times