Covid-19 roundup: Mer­ck pre­pares new study on their $425M Covid drug; CO­V­AX be­gins roll­out but huge dis­par­i­ties still loom

Mer­ck spent $425 mil­lion to buy out On­coIm­mune in No­vem­ber, pre­sum­ably un­der the be­lief that they could scale up their drug for se­vere Covid-19 and get it through the FDA on the strength of a Phase III tri­al the small­er biotech com­plet­ed in Sep­tem­ber.

The FDA threw a wrench in those plans. The agency told Mer­ck last week that the 203-per­son study wasn’t suf­fi­cient to show the drug was ef­fec­tive. Now, Bloomberg re­ports, Mer­ck is prepar­ing an ad­di­tion­al Phase III study, one that will push re­sults — and any chance of ap­proval — back to the end of the year.

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