Moderna sues Big Pharma rivals over vaccine patents – Reuters

Pharmaceutical giant Moderna has filed lawsuits against rivals Pfizer and BioNTech, claiming they « copy » the technology used to create its coronavirus vaccine and the infringed patents related to the vaccine.

The company announced the move on Friday, saying it would sue Pfizer and BioNTech for intellectual property infringement in the United States and Germany, where the latter company is headquartered.

“We are filing these lawsuits to protect the innovative mRNA technology platform that we pioneered, invested billions of dollars in creating, and patented in the decade before the Covid-19 pandemic,” Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel said in a statement.

The messenger RNA technology in question has been in development since 2010, Bancel added, noting that the platform was first patented for use with coronaviruses as early as 2015. The company now believes Pfizer and BioNTech « Illegally copied Moderna’s inventions » for their own products and have « continued to use them without permission. »

BioNTech, which partnered with Pfizer to create the Comirnaty vaccine, said it was aware of the litigation but insisted all of its work was « original » and that would be « defending vigorously against all allegations of patent infringement. »

While Moderna said in 2020 that it would not enforce any patents related to Covid-19 to ensure access to vaccines, it later restricted that commitment to specific low- and middle-income countries, meaning large rivals like Pfizer could still face lawsuits. However, the company said it was not seeking to remove Comirnaty from the market, but simply wanted compensation for the alleged intellectual property infringements.

The latest lawsuit follows a series of similar lawsuits against pharmaceutical companies, including Moderna, which was brought to court by biotech companies Arbutus Biopharma and Genevant Sciences earlier this year for the alleged use of a patented vaccine technology. Pfizer and BioNTech, meanwhile, were sued by Germany’s CureVac last month for alleged intellectual property infringement, and another company, Alnylam, has made similar allegations against Pfizer, BioNTech and Moderna.

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