Jim Cramer: Merck and Johnson & Johnson Are a 'Quandary'

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Merck is going to pay $425 million for OncoImmune, a privately held biotech that has developed a promising treatment for patients suffering a severe form of COVID-19.

The company published late-stage data from a phase 3 trial evaluating its lead therapeutic candidate, CD24Fc, in September that showed a 60% higher probability of improvement for patients suffering severe or critical COVID-19 when compared to placebo. The risk of death or respiratory failure was also reduced by more than 50%, Oncolmmune data indicated.

“Meaningful new therapeutic options are desperately needed for possibly millions of people around the world who will develop severe or critical COVID-19 disease,” said Merck Research Laboratories president Roger Perlmutter. “Recent clinical investigations support the view that CD24Fc may provide benefit beyond the standard of care therapy for COVID-19 patients requiring oxygen support, and hence will represent an important addition to the Merck pipeline of investigational medicines and vaccines designed to address the COVID-19 pandemic.”

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