Hanmi Pharm Set to Produce COVID-19 Treatment for Merck and Supply to Developing Countries
Hanmi Pharmaceutical is set to manufacture a generic drug of Merck’s oral COVID-19 treatment drug and supply it to underdeveloped countries.
On January 20th, Hanmi Pharmaceutical announced that it has recently signed a production agreement with the Medicines Patent Pool (MPP) for granting the right to produce molnupiravir (brand name: Lagevrio) developed by Merck of the United States. Under this contract, Hanmi Pharm plans to produce and sell a generic of Lagevrio to some of 105 developing countries.
Lagevrio was approved for emergency use in the UK last November, and in the following December, it was approved for use in patients who could not use other approved COVID-19 treatment in the United States. Currently, it is under review by the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety of Korea for marketing approval.
MPP, a non-profit medical organization supported by the United Nations (UN), signed an agreement with Merck on granting the right to use molnupiravir. The recent agreement between MPP and Hanmi Pharm is intended to improve access to COVID-19 treatments in underdeveloped countries.
Hanmi Pharmaceutical submitted a letter of intent to participate in the production of Lagevrio to the MPP last November and was ultimately selected in December to supervise production after rigorous screening. As a result, Hanmi Pharm will be transferred the know-how to manufacture Lagevrio from Merck, and royalties will be exempted until the World Health Organization (WHO) declares the end of the pandemic.
Hanmi Fine Chemical, an affiliate of Hanmi Pharmaceutical, will begin producing raw materials for Lagevrio. It will then be transported to the Hanmi Pharm Smart Plant, located in Paltan-myeon, Hwaseong-si, Gyeonggi-do Province, to manufacture finished drugs.
Hanmi Pharm was also backed by the government in the recent deal with MPP. The Governmentwide Support Committee for COVID-19 Treatment and Vaccine Development under the Ministry of Health and Welfare has been prepping to select a Korean pharmaceutical company since November by consulting with MPP regarding the production of oral COVID-19 treatment drugs in Korea. The government even announced at business meetings that it will provide ongoing support for domestic production of oral COVID-19 medications and global expansion of domestic pharmaceutical companies.
“We will do our best to swiftly supply high-quality medicines to the world by manufacturing the oral COVID-19 medication as soon as possible in close consultation with MPP and Merck to end the COVID-19 pandemic,” said an official from Hanmi Pharmaceutical.