Moderna Sues Pfizer/BioNTech Over COVID Vaccine Patent Infringement

Courtesy of Governor Tom Wolf (Flickr CC0)

Moderna is suing Pfizer and BioNTech for patent infringement over their COVID-19 vaccine. The company filed its lawsuit on August 26, 2022.

Stéphane Bancel, Moderna’s Chief Executive Officer, stated they were “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.”

The biotechnology company alleges Pfizer and BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine Comirnaty® infringes on patents they filed between 2010 and 2016. They claim the defendants copied critical groundbreaking technology developed by the plaintiffs.

“This foundational platform, which we began building in 2010, along with our patented work on coronaviruses in 2015 and 2016, enabled us to produce a safe and highly effective COVID-19 vaccine in record time after the pandemic struck, ” added Bancel.

Moderna is using its mRNA “technology platform to develop” drugs that could potentially “treat and prevent infectious diseases like influenza and HIV, as well as autoimmune and cardiovascular diseases and rare forms of cancer.”

Courtesy of Osama Eid (Wikimedia CC0)

Scientists for Moderna began to develop the chemical modification that bypasses an unwanted immune response when it’s introduced into a person’s system in 2010. They were the first to validate their findings when they conducted human trials in 2015.

The second thing Pfizer and BioNTech are accused of is copying Moderna’s approach to encode the full-length spike protein in a lipid nanoparticle formulation for a coronavirus.

Pfizer released a statement saying they hadn’t had a chance to fully read the lawsuit. However, they fully plan on fighting the accusations. “We remain confident in our intellectual property supporting the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine and will vigorously defend against the allegations of the lawsuit,” they wrote in their statement.

BioNTech released a similar response by saying they too plan on passionately defending themselves against Moderena’s allegations. Legal experts believe that Moderna is attempting to control the COVID-19 vaccine market.

Back in October 2020, Moderna stated they would not take action against any COVID-19-related patents. They reiterated that statement again in March 2022.

Two different biotech companies Arbutus Biopharma and Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, are suing Moderna for patent infringement — the same thing they’re claiming Pfizer/BioNTech did. Moderna claims they had the right to infringe on the two biotech companies due to a legal clause that allows governments to waive patent rights. They added they obtained the patent under the Freedom of Information Act Request filed by the nonprofit Knowledge Ecology International, or KEI.

Written by Sheena Robertson


CNN: Moderna files patent infringement lawsuits against Pfizer and BioNTech over mRNA Covid-19 vaccines

Top and Featured Image Courtesy of Governor Tom Wolf‘s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

Inset Image by Osama Eid Courtesy of Wikimedia – Creative Commons License

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