Tatsat Chronicle Magazine

Moderna Sues Pfizer & BioNTech Over mRNA Covid-19 Vaccines

August 27, 2022

Moderna filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Pfizer and BioNtech on Friday, “infringing patents on (its) core mRNA technology platform,” the company said in a press release on Friday.

“Moderna believes that Pfizer and BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine Comirnaty infringes patents Moderna filed between 2010 and 2016 covering Moderna’s foundational mRNA technology. This groundbreaking technology was critical to the development of Moderna’s own mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, Spikevax. Pfizer and BioNTech copied this technology, without Moderna’s permission, to make Comirnaty,” the Press release said.

Pfizer said the lawsuits were unexpected.

In a statement, BioNTech said it “will vigorously defend against all allegations of patent infringement. BioNTech also values and respects valid and enforceable intellectual property rights of others and remains confident in its intellectual property.”

Moderna has been seeking damages since March, which could include royalties and lost profits when the company said it would freeze its Covid-related patents in rich countries after previously promising not to do so during pandemic emergencies. Moderna’s lawsuit says the company will not seek compensation for sales of Pfizer’s vaccines in the world’s poorest countries. He also said the company would not seek damages that are the responsibility of the US government, which has purchased millions of doses of the Pfizer-BioEntech vaccine.

Moderna spokesman Christopher Ridley said the company would let the courts determine the amount of damages and not speculate. But Jacob S., an expert in biotech patent law at the University of Illinois Law School. Sherko estimates that if Moderna’s lawsuit is successful, Pfizer could be forced to pay tens of millions of dollars in damages, a small fraction of the total sales of its Covid vaccine, which hit a record $36.8 billion in 2021.

Messenger RNA is a genetic molecule that helps cells make proteins. The Pfizer-BioNtech and Moderna vaccines use technology to direct cells to produce small pieces of the virus that stimulate the immune system to protect against the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

Moderna had been working on other infectious disease technologies for years before the onset of Covid. The company has poured billions of dollars from investors into developing the technology while receiving significant government support. The United States has given the company more than $10 billion to develop and test the Covid vaccine and buy doses.

Moderna’s lawsuit claims that Pfizer and BioNTech copied key features of its proprietary technology, including making similar chemical changes to its mRNA and targeting similar proteins, known as spike proteins, that were pioneered years ago by Moderna scientists.