Moderna has sued the pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and BioNTech for “copying” the patent for the messenger RNA technology on which both companies’ vaccines against Covid 19 are based. The plaintiff expects the defendants to compensate it for its continued use of messenger RNA technology beginning in March 2022.
On the other hand, it does not seek damages in relation to vaccines sold to low- and middle-income countries or in that the United States Government is responsible. “Pfizer and BioNtech have not respected intellectual property rights,” Moderna denounces in the statement.
The lawsuit, filed before the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts and the Düsseldorf Regional Court in Germany, states that Moderna considers that the Pfizer vaccine “infringes” the patents that the plaintiff filed between 2010 and 2016 on the messenger RNA.
“This innovative technology was central to the development of Moderna’s own messenger RNA Covid vaccine. Pfizer and BioNTech copied it, without our permission, to manufacture their serum ,” Moderna said in the statement. In addition, he recalls that the company invested billions of dollars in its creation.
On the other hand, the US pharmaceutical company has clarified that it does not intend to withdraw Pfizer’s vaccines and that it is not requesting precautionary measures to prevent their sale in the future.
During the pandemic, the plaintiff pharmaceutical company pledged not to enforce its Covid-related patents for as long as it continued. When the emergency situation was lighter and the supply of serum was no longer an obstacle to access in many parts of the world, specifically in March 2022 , Moderna updated its agreement and indicated that it would never assert its patents for any vaccine against the Covid to be used in low and middle income countries.
In March of this year, Moderna was sued by the Arbutus company . The latter filed an appeal with the US justice system claiming damages from the biotech company for alleged patent infringement in the development of the coronavirus vaccine.
They were asking the defendant at the time for fair compensation for the use of its patented technology “which was developed at great effort and cost, without which Moderna’s vaccine would not have been successful,” Arbutus explained. Moderna denied the claims of patent infringement.
Moderna believes that Pfizer and BioNtech copied two key features that are critical to the success of mRNA vaccines . The plaintiff company argues that “both pharmaceutical companies took four different vaccine candidates to clinical trials that included options that would have moved away from Moderna’s innovative path.”
“However, Pfizer and BioNtech decided to proceed with a vaccine that has the same chemical modification of the messenger RNA as Moderna’s,” stresses the pharmaceutical company. She claims that although the two companies had many options, they “copied their approach to encoding the full-length spike protein in a lipid nanoparticle formulation for coronavirus.”
Moderna has clarified that none of the patent rights that the entity intends to assert is related to the intellectual property generated during its collaboration with the United States National Institutes of Health to combat Covid 19. “This collaboration began after the technologies patented in question will prove successful in clinical trials in 2015 and 2016”, concludes the entity.