Thermo Fisher will dedicate its manufacturing facility in Ontario, Canada to make Merck’s molnupiravir and distribute the drug in Canada and the UK


Merck headquarters in Darmstadt, Germany. (Credit: Merck KGaA.)

Merck has reached an agreement with healthcare technology company Thermo Fisher Scientific to manufacture its potential oral Covid-19 medicine, molnupiravir.

Under the terms of the agreement, Thermo Fisher will dedicate its facility in Ontario, Canada, to manufacture Merck’s molnupiravir and distribute the medicine in Canada and the UK.

The drug manufactured in Canada will also be supplied to markets in the European Union, the Asia Pacific and Latin America, subject to local market approvals, said Merck.

Earlier this month, Merck has signed an agreement with the Government of Canada for 500,000 courses of molnupiravir, with options to procure additional 500,000 courses in 2022.

The pharmaceutical company said that its agreement with Thermo Fisher will support its efforts to increase the access for its oral antiviral, after its regulatory approval.

Merck Canada president and managing director Marwan Akar said: “We are honoured to be partnering with the federal and provincial governments in support of our country’s preparedness against Covid-19.

“We can learn from this experience and apply the same determination to grow the life sciences sector more broadly, to help fight the world’s health challenges.”

Thermo Fisher Scientific North America drug product vice president Michelle Logan said: “Thermo Fisher is proud to join Merck’s global manufacturing network to provide support for the production of its investigational oral treatment for Covid-19.”

Molnupiravir is currently being developed by Merck, in collaboration with Ridgeback Biotherapeutics, a US-based biotech company, in the treatment of Covid-19.

Ridgeback is involved in marketing Ebanga for the treatment of Ebola and has a late-stage development pipeline, including molnupiravir for Covid-19.

Both companies are conducting Phase 3 clinical trials of the drug, in adults with mild-to-moderate Covid-19, at risk of developing severe disease.

Merck had previously signed supply agreements with Japan, the US, the UK, Canada, and several other countries for its investigational Covid-19 treatment.

In October this year, the company signed a licensing agreement with the Medicines Patent Pool (MPP) to enhance global access for its molnupiravir.