Merck KGaA donates multiple sclerosis med Rebif to French COVID-19 trial

By | March 20, 2020

With drugmakers scouring their portfolios for possible COVID-19 therapeutics, meds approved years ago are now being viewed with fresh eyes. That’s the case for Merck KGaA’s aging multiple sclerosis med Rebif, which French researchers are now hoping could help ease symptoms caused by the novel coronavirus. 

Merck KGaA has donated samples of Rebif to France’s Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale for use in a trial evaluating the drug’s effect on COVID-19 patients, the drugmaker said Thursday. 

Rebif, an anti-inflammatory the FDA originally approved to treat relapsing MS back in 2002, is the first MS med known to be evaluated as a treatment for COVID-19. 

Survey

Veeva 2020 Unified Clinical Operations Survey

We believe you have the knowledge and expertise to make this year’s Veeva 2020 Clinical Operations Report even more robust and insightful than the last. Please take a moment to share your opinion in this 10-minute survey. All qualified respondents will be entered to win a $ 500 Amazon gift card.

“As Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany is a company that is dedicated to human progress and to making a lasting difference on patients’ lives, we are fully committed to contributing to solutions related to global health crises such as COVID-19,” the company said in a statement.

RELATED: Bayer donates millions of tablets of chloroquine to help in COVID-19 fight

On Thursday, Bayer confirmed it was donating 3 million tablets of chloroquine, a decades-old drug that’s long gone generic, to the U.S. as a possible therapeutic for COVID-19. Chloroquine isn’t approved to treat patients suffering from novel coronavirus infections, but some early studies have shown promise. 

FiercePharma: Pharma