Moderna sues Pfizer and BioNTech for patenting the Covid vaccine: Moderna Inc.’s lawsuit against Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE for allegedly infringing on its patents by exploiting certain technology in Covid-19 signals the start of a lengthy legal struggle between the three vaccine industry titans.
In a statement released Friday, Moderna charged Pfizer and BioNTech with infringing intellectual property rights that covered significant portions of Moderna’s messenger RNA technology in creating the Comirnaty vaccine.
Headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Moderna claimed that patents covered the mRNA technology. That enabled its Spikevax injection from 2010 to 2016. That the other two businesses had stolen its ideas without its consent.
Moderna said it would file a lawsuit in a German regional court and the Massachusetts US District Court. However, court documents couldn’t be quickly checked to confirm the allegations.
Pfizer said that since it has not yet received notice of the complaint, it cannot respond.
Before the start of US markets, Pfizer shares dropped 1.2%, while BioNTech’s American depositary receipts dropped 2.6%. Shares of Moderna moved very little.
Moderna said that it is not requesting that the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid vaccine be taken off the market or that sales prohibited in the future. Instead of claiming damages for Pfizer’s sales to 92 low- and middle-income countries. The company is seeking compensation starting March 8.
Moderna first committed to not protecting its intellectual property during the Covid crisis. Still, on March 7, it changed that commitment to lower-income nations, paving the way for this legal action.
Moderna Chief Executive Officer Stephane Bancel stated that the company was bringing the legal actions to “protect the breakthrough mRNA technology platform that we pioneered. Spent billions of dollars in inventing, and patented over the decade before the Covid-19 epidemic.”
The mRNA vaccines were essential in the pandemic response, particularly in the US. For example, Comirnaty generated approximately $37 billion in sales for Pfizer last year. While Spikevax brought in over $18 billion for Moderna.
The technology employed in the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines is the subject of several intellectual property disputes. For example, in a previous lawsuit this year, Alnylam Pharmaceuticals Inc. accused Moderna, Pfizer. And BioNTech of using lipid nanoparticle technology in one or more of their Covid vaccines.
The National Institutes of Health and Moderna have argued over whether to credit the agency’s researchers as inventors on Moderna’s Covid vaccine patents.
Despite having alternative possibilities, Pfizer and BioNTech “decided to continue with a vaccination. That has the same exact mRNA chemical alteration to their vaccine,” according to Moderna.
In addition, Moderna claimed that BioNTech and Pfizer had copied their strategy of encoding a full-length spike protein in a lipid nanoparticle.