MSD discontinues development of COVID-19 vaccines

pharmafile | January 26, 2021 | News story | Manufacturing and Production MSD, Merck 

Merck, known as MSD outside of the US and Canada, has announced that the company is discontinuing development of its COVID-19 vaccine candidates, V590 and V591.

The company now plans to focus its COVID-19 research strategy and production capabilities on advancing two therapeutic candidates, MK-4482 and MK-7110.

The decision to abandon the jabs follows Merck’s review of findings from Phase I clinical studies. In the studies, both V590 and V591 were generally well tolerated, but the immune responses were inferior to those seen following natural infection and those reported for other coronavirus vaccines.

The company continues to advance clinical programs and to scale-up manufacturing for two investigational medicines, MK-7110 and MK-4482 (molnupiravir). Molnupiravir is being developed in collaboration with Ridgeback Bio.

Merck and its collaborators plan to submit the results of the Phase I studies for the vaccine candidates for publication in a peer-reviewed journal. In addition to advancing the development and production of MK-7110 and MK-4482, Merck will continue to conduct COVID-19 research.

The company will also continue to evaluate the potential of the measles-virus vector and vesicular stomatitis virus vector-based platforms, and pursue broader pandemic-response capabilities.

Dr Dean Y Li, President of Merck Research Laboratories, said: “We are grateful to our collaborators who worked with us on these vaccine candidates and to the volunteers in the trials. We are resolute in our commitment to contribute to the global effort to relieve the burden of this pandemic on patients, health care systems, and communities.”

Darcy Jimenez

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