Moderna Sues Pfizer/BioNTech Over Alleged Patent Infringement on COVID Vaccine | Science and technology news

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Moderna is suing Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech for alleged patent infringement in the development of the first US-approved COVID-19 vaccine.

The lawsuit, seeking unspecified damages, alleges that they copied the technology modern developed years before the pandemic.

Stephane Bancel, CEO of Moderna, said, “We are filing these lawsuits to protect the innovative mRNA technology platform we are developing, investing billions of dollars in developing and patenting in the decade leading up to the COVID-19 pandemic to have.”

Mr. Bancel said the company continues to use the technology to develop treatments for influenza and HIV, as well as autoimmune and cardiovascular diseases and rare cancers.

“We believe that Pfizer and BioNTech unlawfully copied Moderna’s inventions and continue to use them without permission,” added Shannon Thyme Klinger, Moderna’s chief legal officer.

Moderna Inc and the Pfizer Inc/BioNTech partnership were two of the first groups to develop a vaccine for COVID.

Just a decade old, Moderna was an innovator in messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccine technology, which teaches human cells how to make a protein that triggers an immune response.

The technology helped speed up the vaccine approval process – which normally takes years – and allowed the vaccine to be developed so quickly.

Germany-based BioNTech was also in this space when it partnered with US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration first granted emergency use authorization for the partnership’s vaccine in December 2020 — and gave Moderna the green light to vaccinate a week later.

Moderna alleges that Pfizer/BioNTech copied without permission the mRNA technology it patented between 2010 and 2016, well before COVID-19 emerged in 2019.

At the start of the pandemic, Moderna said it wouldn’t enforce its COVID patents to help others develop their own vaccines, but in March this year it told companies like Pfizer and BioNTech that it expected them to use its intellectual property rights respect.

In terms of revenue, Moderna’s vaccine has brought in $10.4bn (£8.8bn) this year, while Pfizer’s has raised about $22bn (£18.6bn).

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Pfizer/BioNTech have “acquired two types of intellectual property”

In a statement released Friday, Moderna said Pfizer/BioNTech has acquired two types of intellectual property, one involving an mRNA structure and the other encoding a full-length spike protein.

“Pfizer and BioNTech have entered four different vaccine candidates into clinical testing, including options that could have
from Moderna’s innovative path,” the statement said.

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“However, Pfizer and BioNTech ultimately decided to proceed with a vaccine that shares the same mRNA chemical modification as its vaccine.”

Pfizer and BioNTech are already facing multiple lawsuits from other companies that say the partnership’s sting is against them
on their patents, but both have said they will vigorously defend their patents.

Pfizer said the company had not been served and could not comment at this time.



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