Merck and Ridgeback Announce New Data For Investigational LAGEVRIO™ (molnupiravir) From Phase 3 MOVe-OUT Study

Merck, known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics today announced the Annals of Internal Medicine has published additional data from the Phase 3 MOVe-OUT trial evaluating LAGEVRIO™ (molnupiravir), an investigational oral antiviral medicine, in non-hospitalized adults with mild to moderate COVID-19 who were at high risk for progressing to severe disease.

Analyses of pre-specified exploratory endpoints indicate that a lower proportion of LAGEVRIO-treated participants in the modified intent-to-treat (MITT) population had an acute care visit or a COVID-19-related acute care visit versus placebo-treated participants in the MITT population: 7.2% of participants who received LAGEVRIO reported an acute care visit through Day 29, versus 10.6% of placebo participants, with a relative risk reduction [RRR] of 32.1% [CI, 4.4% to 51.7%]; 6.6% of participants who received LAGEVRIO reported a COVID-19-related acute care visit, versus 10.0% of placebo participants, with a RRR of 33.8% [CI, 5.6% to 53.6%]. The MITT population included all participants who were randomly assigned, received at least one dose of study drug, and were not hospitalized before the first dose of study drug. Based on a post hoc analysis, fewer LAGEVRIO-treated participants in the MITT population required respiratory interventions (including conventional oxygen therapy, a high-flow heated and humidified device, noninvasive mechanical ventilation, or invasive mechanical ventilation) versus placebo-treated participants, with a RRR of 34.3% [95% CI, 4.3% to 54.9%] for all respiratory interventions. Based on additional post hoc analyses, participants in the safety population who received LAGEVRIO showed earlier and larger reductions in mean C-reactive protein (CRP) values, and earlier and larger improvements in mean change from baseline oxygen saturation (SpO2) values, compared with participants who received placebo. The safety population consisted of all participants who had undergone randomization and had received at least one dose of LAGEVRIO.

“The analyses add to our understanding of the clinical profile of LAGEVRIO and help to reinforce the importance of LAGEVRIO as part of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Dr. Dean Y. Li, president, Merck Research Laboratories.

“The primary data from MOVe-OUT demonstrated a significant reduction in the risk for progression to severe COVID-19, including hospitalization and death, when compared to placebo among non-hospitalized, at-risk patients. In light of the continued burden of COVID-19, we are encouraged by these new data,” said Wendy Holman, chief executive officer, Ridgeback Biotherapeutics. “We look forward to continuing to study LAGEVRIO with the goal of helping high-risk patients and overburdened healthcare systems globally continue to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.”

In addition to the MOVe-OUT trial, LAGEVRIO is being evaluated for post-exposure prophylaxis in MOVe-AHEAD, a global, multicenter, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled Phase 3 study evaluating the efficacy and safety of LAGEVRIO in preventing the spread of COVID-19 within households.

About LAGEVRIO (molnupiravir)

LAGEVRIO(molnupiravir) (MK-4482) is an investigational, orally administered nucleoside analog that inhibits the replication of SARS-CoV-2, the causative agent of COVID-19.

Merck and Ridgeback’s “orange COVID-19 pill” is a Swedish Orange opaque capsule with the Merck corporate logo and “82” printed in white ink, available in certain markets as LAGEVRIO.

Results from the Phase 3 MOVe-OUT study demonstrated the efficacy benefit of LAGEVRIO treatment was generally consistent across patients infected with SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern, Delta, Gamma and Mu. Preclinical data has shown that LAGEVRIO has antiviral activity against the variant, Omicron (B1.1.529). LAGEVRIO has yet to be evaluated against Omicron in clinical studies.

Molnupiravir was invented at Emory University. Drug Innovation Ventures at Emory (DRIVE), LLC, which was formed by Emory to develop early-stage drug candidates for viral diseases of global concern, advanced molnupiravir through IND submission. Emory/DRIVE received some research funding from the U.S. Department of Defense and the U.S. National Institutes of Health. LAGEVRIO is being developed by Merck in collaboration with Ridgeback Biotherapeutics. Ridgeback received an upfront payment from Merck and also is eligible to receive contingent payments dependent upon the achievement of certain developmental and regulatory approval milestones. Any profits from the collaboration will be split between the partners equally. Since licensed by Ridgeback, all funds used for the development of LAGEVRIO have been provided by Merck and Ridgeback.

About Ridgeback Biotherapeutics

Headquartered in Miami, Florida, Ridgeback Biotherapeutics LP is a biotechnology company focused on emerging infectious diseases. Ridgeback markets EbangaTM for the treatment of Ebola and has a late-stage development pipeline which includes molnupiravir for the treatment of COVID-19. The team at Ridgeback is dedicated to developing life-saving and life-changing solutions for patients and diseases that need champions as well as providing global access to these medicines. In line with Ridgeback’s mission for equitable global access, all Ridgeback services and treatment for Ebola patients in Africa are delivered free of charge.

About Merck

At Merck, known as MSD outside of the United States and Canada, we are unified around our purpose: We use the power of leading-edge science to save and improve lives around the world. For more than 130 years, we have brought hope to humanity through the development of important medicines and vaccines. We aspire to be the premier research-intensive biopharmaceutical company in the world – and today, we are at the forefront of research to deliver innovative health solutions that advance the prevention and treatment of diseases in people and animals. We foster a diverse and inclusive global workforce and operate responsibly every day to enable a safe, sustainable and healthy future for all people and communities.

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