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The drug giant Merck said Monday it would purchase Rockville, Md.-based OncoImmune for $425 million in cash to obtain the company’s treatment for patients hospitalized with severe and critical Covid-19. 

In an interview with STAT, Merck’s head of research and development, Roger Perlmutter, said that clinical trials for the treatment, CD24Fc, were encouraging but that manufacturing could prove a challenge. Still, he said, he hopes that, if proven safe and effective, it will be possible to make the medicine in useful quantities in the first half of 2021.

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