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Moderna sues Pfizer/BioNTech over COVID vaccine

Moderna sued Pfizer and BioNTech, its German partner, for patent infringement during the development of the COVID-19 vaccine.

They are suing for unspecified monetary damages.

Stephane Bancel, chief executive of Moderna, stated that “We are filing these suits to protect the innovative platform for mRNA technology that we pioneered and invested billions in creating during the decade preceding COVID-19.”

Bancel stated that the company will continue to use the technology for the development of treatments for HIV and influenza, as well as rare cancers like autoimmune and cardiovascular diseases.

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Shannon Thyme Klinger, Moderna’s chief lawyer, stated that Pfizer’s and BioNTech had copied Moderna’s inventions in an illegal manner and continued to use them without permission.

Moderna Inc, BioNTech and the partnership between Pfizer Inc were the first to develop a vaccine against COVID.

Moderna, a young innovator in messenger RNA (mRNA), vaccine technology was just ten years old. This works by teaching cells how to produce a protein that triggers an immune response.

More information on Covid-19

This technology allowed for faster approval of the jabs, which normally takes many years. It also enabled rapid development of the vaccine.

BioNTech, a German pharma company, had been in the same field for many years before it joined forces with Pfizer.

The US Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency use authorization for the vaccine partnership in December 2020. Moderna received the go-ahead a week later.

Moderna claims that Pfizer/BioNTech copied the mRNA technology it had patent between 2010 and 2016 well before COVID-19 was introduced in 2019.

Moderna stated that it would not enforce COVID patents in order to assist others in developing their own vaccines during the pandemic. However, it informed companies such as Pfizer, BioNTech and BioNTech in March this year that it expects them to respect its intellectual properties rights.

Moderna’s vaccine brought in $10.4bn (PS8.8bn), while Pfizer’s raised around $22bn. (PS18.6bn).

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BioNTech/Pfizer ‘appropriated two kinds of intellectual property’

Moderna stated Friday that Pfizer/BioNTech had taken two types of intellectual property. One relates to an mRNA structure, the other relates the coding and full-length spike proteins.

“Pfizer, BioNTech submitted four vaccine candidates for clinical testing. These included options that could have been used in an emergency.”

The statement stated that Moderna had not taken the innovative path.”

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“Pfizer, BioNTech decided that a vaccine with the exact same mRNA chemical modifications to their vaccine would be best.”

Pfizer and BioNTech have already been sued by several companies alleging that the jab partnership infringes their rights.

Both patent owners have stated that they will vigorously defend their patents.

Pfizer stated that the company was not served and could not comment.

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