Merck Spends Big on COVID-19 Candidate, But Ignores Its Own Ivermectin Product

Merck Spends Big on COVID-19 Candidate, But Ignores Its Own Ivermectin Product

The saga of Merck and the COVID-19 treatment CD24Fc starts with a November 2020 company press release, “Merck inks $425M OncoImmune buyout to bag COVID-19 drug.” The OncoImmune drug, originally known as CD24Fc, is a fusion protein that has some data supporting use for severe or critical COVID-19 cases. Prior to the Merck’s deal, back in April 2020, OncoImmune started a trial to see if CD24Fc, “fortifies an innate immune checkpoint against excessive inflammation.” After the firm released interim phase 3 data in September, Merck paid $425 million upfront for the biotech firm, with the deal focused on CD24Fc. Back in November, Merck still had two vaccines and an antiviral (for moderate disease) in development, and the OncoImmune deal aimed to add a drug that may treat severe or critical COVID-19. Interim data from phase 3 testing by OncoImmune found that CD24Fc was correlated with “a 60% higher probability of improvement” and a “50% lower risk of death or respiratory failure” when compared to placebo. Although, there is mounting data accumulated for an ivermectin consideration (Merck is a producer of the generic product and in fact has given away billions of doses for humanitarian pu...

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