With regard to the first COVID-19 vaccine accepted in the United States, Moderna has filed a law suit against Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech over patent infringement, claiming that they appropriated technology that Moderna had developed years prior to the latest pandemic.
Prior to the bell, Pfizer stock dropped 1.4 per cent, while BioNTech fell about 2 per cent.
According to a news release from Moderna on Friday, the lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court in Massachusetts and the Regional Court of Düsseldorf in Germany. It seeks unspecified monetary damages.
“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 statement.
One of the first organisations to create a vaccine for the brand-new coronavirus was Moderna Inc., who worked alone, and the collaboration between Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE.
Moderna, based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, had only been around for ten years when it pioneered the messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccine technology that allowed the COVID-19 vaccine to be developed at an unprecedented rate.
Thanks in large part to the development of mRNA vaccines, which instruct human cells on how to produce a protein that will elicit an immune response, an approval procedure that used to take years was finished in months.
When it teamed up with the American pharmaceutical behemoth Pfizer, BioNTech, based in Germany, was also engaged in this industry.
In December 2020, Pfizer/BioNTech was the first to receive an emergency use authorization for the COVID-19 vaccine, and Moderna received it a week later.
The COVID vaccine, the sole commercial product of Moderna, generated $10.4 billion in sales this year compared to about $22 billion for Pfizer’s vaccine.
Prior to COVID-19 emerging in late 2019 and spreading among the popular consciousness in early 2020, Moderna claims that Pfizer/BioNTech illegally copied mRNA technology that Moderna had patented between 2010 and 2016. This is when Moderna claims that this occurred.
Moderna declared early in the pandemic that it would not enforce its COVID-19 patents in order to aid others in creating their own vaccines, especially for low- and middle-income countries.
However, Moderna stated in March 2022 that it anticipated businesses like Pfizer and BioNTech to respect its intellectual property rights. Before March 8, 2022, it declared that it would not pursue damages for any actions.
In the early stages of new technology, patent litigation is not unusual.
Numerous lawsuits have already been filed against Pfizer and BioNTech by businesses that claim the vaccine developed by the partnership violates their patents. According to Pfizer/BioNTech, they will zealously defend their patents.
For instance, in July, the German company CureVac also sued BioNTech there. In a statement in response, BioNTech claimed that its work was unique.
Additionally, Moderna is embroiled in a legal battle with the American National Institutes of Health over ownership of the technology known as mRNA. Moderna has also been accused of violating patents in the US. Pfizer/BioNTech appropriated two different kinds of intellectual property, according to Moderna’s statement from Friday.
One concerned an mRNA structure that, according to Moderna, its researchers started developing in 2010 and were the first to validate in human trials in 2015.
“Pfizer and BioNTech took four different vaccine candidates into clinical testing, which included options that would have steered clear of Moderna’s innovative path. Pfizer and BioNTech, however, ultimately decided to proceed with a vaccine that has the same exact mRNA chemical modification to its vaccine,” Moderna said in its statement.
The coding of a full-length spike protein, which Moderna claims its scientists developed while developing a vaccine for the coronavirus that causes Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, is the subject of the second alleged infringement (MERS).
Although the MERS vaccine was never commercialized, Moderna was able to launch its COVID-19 vaccine quickly thanks to its development.
Pfizer stated that they were unable to comment at this time because the company had not yet been served.
(Adapted from BusinessToday.in)