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Merck, in latest COVID-19 setback, scraps one drug and pins hopes on another

April 15, 2021

The coronavirus pandemic has made winners out of previously unproven biotechs like Moderna and BioNTech, which each developed strongly successful vaccines in record time. But it’s also featured surprising setbacks for some of the world’s leading infectious disease companies, like Sanofi, GlaxoSmithKline and Merck.

Sanofi and GSK, for instance, had to make a new version of an experimental coronavirus vaccine they teamed up to develop after their first formulation was judged too weak to advance. Both still aim to bring coronavirus shots to market. But they’ve since agreed to help other companies, like BioNTech and Novavax, manufacture vaccines that have proven safe and effective in clinical testing.

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