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Merck enters $1.2 billion agreement to supply U.S. government with potential COVID-19 treatment

Shares of Merck & Co. Inc. rose 0.9% in premarket trading Wednesday, after the drug maker announced a supply agreement with the U.S. government for molnupiravir, its investigational oral antiviral candidate to treat mild to moderate COVID-19. Molnupiravir is currently undergoing a Phase 3 clinical trial for treating COVID-19 in non-hospitalized patients with at least one risk factor. If molnupiravir is granted Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the Food and Drug Administration, Merck will receive about $1.2 billion to supply the government with 1.7 million courses of molnupiravir. The company expects to have more than 10 million courses of therapy by the end of 2021. Merck’s stock has lost 7.2% year to date through Tuesday, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average has gained 13.1%.Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.

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