Moderna sues Pfizer-BioNtech for patent violation
02 September 2022
Moderna on Friday filed a suit against US pharma giant Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech for patent infringement in the development of the first Covid-19 vaccine approved in the United States.
In its lawsuit filed in the district court in Massachusetts, Moderna has alleged that Pfizer-BioNtech merely copied the technology it developed years before the pandemic.
According to Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech copied mRNA technology that Moderna had patented between 2010 and 2016, well before Covid-19 emerged in 2019.
Moderna has sought undetermined monetary damages, according to a Reuters report.
Miderna claims to have pioneered the innovative mRNA technology and invested billions of dollars in creating, and patented during the decade preceding the Covid-19 pandemic, the report added.
In a news release on Friday, Moderna said the lawsuit would be filed in the regional court of Duesseldorf in Germany as well.
Cambridge, Massachusetts based Moderna has been an innovator in the messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccine technology that enabled the unprecedented speed in developing the Covid-19 vaccine.
“We are filing these lawsuits to protect the innovative mRNA technology platform that we pioneered, invested billions of dollars in creating, and patented during the decade preceding the Covid-19 pandemic,” Moderna Chief Executive Stephane Bancel said in the news release.
Moderna said its lawsuit was not meant to stop people from getting vaccines.
Moderna, had, in the peak of the pandemic, said it would not enforce its Covid-19 patents to help others develop their own vaccines, particularly for low- and middle-income countries. But in March 2022 Moderna said it expected companies such as Pfizer and BioNTech to respect its intellectual property rights.
Pfizer, however, claims that its Covid-19 vaccine was based on BioNTech’s proprietary mRNA technology and developed by both BioNTech and Pfizer.
Moderna Inc and the Pfizer-BioNTech partnership were two of the first groups to develop a vaccine for the novel coronavirus.
It was the breakthrough in mRNA vaccines, which teach human cells how to make a protein that will trigger an immune response that helped an approval process that previously took years to get completed in months.
Germany-based BioNTech had also been working in this field when it partnered with Pfizer.
The US Food and Drug Administration granted emergency use authorisation for the Covid-19 vaccine first to Pfizer/BioNTech in December 2020, and then to Moderna a week later.
Moderna’s Covid vaccine — its lone commercial product — has raked in $10.4 billion in revenue this year while Pfizer’s vaccine brought in about $22 billion.