Merck & Co. signed a licensing agreement with the United Nations-backed Medicines Patent Pool (MPP) that will allow more companies to manufacture generic versions of the company’s experimental oral antiviral Covid-19 treatment, the U.S. drugmaker and the organization announced on Oct. 27.

Seattle-based Mozart Therapeutics closed on a $55 million Series A financing round, led by seed financier ARCH Venture Partners along with Sofinnova Partners. Additional investors were Eli Lilly and Company, MRL Ventures Fund, an early-stage fund run by Merck & Co., Leaps by Bayer, Altitude Life Science Ventures, and Alexandria Venture Investments.

Merck on Oct. 25 revealed positive results from two Phase III trials on a potential treatment for adults with HIV-1 infection and are virologically suppressed on different antiretroviral regimens (ART).

Lexington, Mass.-based Agenus withdrew the company’s Biologics License Application (BLA) for the PD-1 inhibitor balstilimab from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Merck is recalling some 22,000 vials of 500 mg Cubicin for intravenous injection following a complaint that a piece of glass was found in one of the vials post reconstitution. 

Atea Pharmaceuticals Inc.’s experimental Covid-19 antiviral pill being developed with Roche failed to help patients with mild and moderate Covid-19 in a small study of mostly low-risk patients, driving the Boston-based drugmaker’s shares down more than 65 percent on Oct. 19.

The FDA’s outside expert panel will meet on November 30, 2021, to deliberate Merck’s pill for Covid-19 infection.  

Four leading pharmaceutical companies partnered with Amazon Web Services and Israel Biotech Fund to launch AION Labs, an innovative space that will allow drug developers to harness artificial intelligence technologies and computational science to solve therapeutic challenges.

Before Merck and Acceleron Pharma struck an $11.5 billion merger agreement in September 2021, rare disease-focused Acceleron was wooed by multiple suitors including pharma giant Bristol Myers Squibb, according to a report from Bloomberg.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Merck’s anti-PD-1 therapy Keytruda in combination with chemotherapy, with or without bevacizumab, for the treatment of patients with persistent, recurrent or metastatic cervical cancer whose tumors express PD-L1 (Combined Positive Score [CPS] ≥1) as determined by an FDA-approved test.