Two Indian drugmakers Aurobindo Pharma Ltd and MSN Laboratories want to discontinue their respective late-stage trials of Merck & Co's experimental antiviral drug molnupiravir in moderate Covid-19 patients.
Both the pharmaceutical firms, however, will continue their separate trials in mild Covid-19 patients, according to a statement by the Indian drug regulator's expert committee on Friday.
Merck had signed a voluntary licensing pact with Aurobindo Pharma for the oral drug molnupiravir, earlier this year. Aurobindo Pharma has been conducting a clinical trial of molnupiravir in 100 patients with moderate Covid-19 since August this year.
Molnupiravir has shown no significant efficacy against moderate Covid-19 cases, a drug regulator source told Reuters separately.
The drug regulator has not yet taken a call on the eight companies that have applied for a molnupiravir licence, the source added.
A joint trial for the antiviral drug is currently being conducted by five Indian generic drugmakers only in mild Covid-19 patients in an outpatient setting.
In July, earlier this year, pharmaceutical company Hetero had announced interim data from a late-stage trial in mild Covid-19 patients and submitted an application for emergency use approval for the same.