UNC-Chapel Hill Pioneering Investigational Site Underpinning Molnupiravir Momentum

UNC-Chapel Hill Pioneering Investigational Site Underpinning Molnupiravir Momentum

Merck’s recent announcement about Molnupiravir indicates the possible imminence of an orally administered antiviral medication targeting COVID-19. The market for this drug class is substantial, given that about 90% of COVID-19 patients fall in the mild-to-moderate category. The Merck clinical research was made possible by academic medical center-based trial sites such as UNC-Chapel Hill, which commenced working on Molnupiravir in 2016. 

Drug Origins

As TrialSite has chronicled, the drug was originally discovered by a group in Emory University to fight off serious influenza. The drug’s intellectual property is controlled by a group called DRIVE, part of Emory University, which founded the group—combining three seasoned leaders with over $20 million in foundational funding to build a world-class infrastructure for developing drugs.

However, original animal testing for the drug, part of what is known as preclinical research, took place at UNC Gilling’s School of Global Public Health, Vanderbilt, and Emory University, where the team demonstrated that the drug blocked SARS-CoV-2 transmission while also apparently mitigating lung damage.

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