Moderna sues Pfizer-BioNTech over Covid vaccines. According to Moderna, the technology used in the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccines was inspired by its patents filed between 2010 and 2016.
“We are suing them to protect our innovative mRNA technology platform in which we have invested billions,” announces Moderna.
Moderna filed the suit in the District Court of Massachusetts and in a German regional court. Moderna’s decision represents a step forward in the fight for intellectual property over mRNA rights. The stakes are high, experts say, as Pfizer, BioNTech and Moderna expect to generate $52 billion in vaccine sales by 2022.
“We believe that Pfizer and BioNTech illegally copied Moderna’s inventions and continued to use them without permission,” says Moderna’s legal director, Shannon Thyme Klinger, ANSA quotes, Rador quotes.
Moderna is suing the company Pfizer-BioNTech for the anti-Covid vaccines
Moderna believes that Pfizer and BioNTech copied two core elements of its patented technologies. “When Covid appeared, neither Pfizer nor Moderna had sufficient experience in the development of mRNA vaccines” and, Moderna points out, “they knowingly copied Moderna’s technology in the development of their vaccines”, stated the company.
Pfizer said it was “surprised” by this action and that it would “vigorously defend itself” against the allegations.
In a statement, Moderna said Pfizer/BioNTech copied two key elements of its intellectual property.
One involves a “chemical modification” that Moderna says its scientists were the first to demonstrate in human trials in 2015, and which means the vaccine “avoids provoking an unwanted immune response.”
The second alleged violation is related to the way both vaccines target the distinctive “spike” protein on the outside of the virus.
“We filed these lawsuits to protect the innovative mRNA technology platform we pioneered, invested billions of dollars in creating, and patented in the decade leading up to the Covid-19 pandemic,” said the CEO. of Moderna, Stephane Bancel.
What is an mRNA vaccine?
Moderna, which was only established as a company in 2010, was one of the early developers of the mRNA technology first used commercially in Covid vaccines.
Vaccines use a genetic code molecule called messenger RNA to generate an immune response.
This trains the body to fight the real virus when it comes into contact with it.
At the start of the pandemic, Moderna said it would not apply its patents to help other pharmaceutical companies develop their own jabs, particularly for low- and middle-income countries.
In March 2022, it said rivals such as Pfizer and BioNTech would have to respect its intellectual property rights in some high-income countries, although it would not seek damages for work carried out before that date.
Patent disputes often occur when new technology is being developed, and both Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna are already facing other lawsuits related to their respective mRNA platforms.
Moderna itself is in an ongoing dispute with the US National Institutes of Health over credit for key patents related to its mRNA technology.
In July, the German biotech company CureVac filed a lawsuit against BioNTech, claiming it infringed patents related to the engineering of certain mRNA molecules and demanding “fair compensation.”
In a statement, Pfizer said it had not yet fully reviewed Moderna’s complaint, but that it was “surprised” given that its vaccine is based on its own proprietary mRNA technology.
A company spokesman said: “We remain confident in our intellectual property supporting the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine and will vigorously defend against the allegations in the lawsuit.”
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