Moderna said it was not asking the court to remove Pfizer and Biontech’s Covid vaccine from the market or block future sales.

Photo credit: Friso Gentsch/dpa

Moderna sued Pfizer and Biontech SE, alleging that its Covid-19 shot technology infringed its patents.

Moderna has accused Pfizer and BioNTech of infringing intellectual property rights related to key elements of Moderna’s messenger RNA technology in the development of the Comminati vaccine. Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Moderna held a patent on the mRNA technology that enabled the Spikevax shot from 2010 to 2016, but said his two other companies copied the technology without permission. .

According to a lawsuit filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Massachusetts, Pfizer and BioNTech “have taken four different candidates into clinical trials, including Moderna’s innovation in using unmodified mRNA. “But in the end, Pfizer and BioNTech scrapped those alternatives and copied Moderna’s patented technology.”

Moderna said it is also suing in Germany. The complaint was not immediately confirmed. Pfizer said it has not been sued and could not comment. A representative for BioNTech did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Pfizer shares fell 0.4% at the New York market open, while BioNTech’s American Depositary Receipt fell 1.6%. Moderna shares fell 0.2%.

Moderna’s lawsuit against Pfizer-BioNTech is not surprising given the extensive US patents directed at its mRNA technology. If Moderna is successful, Pfizer-Biontech could be responsible for paying at least mid-single-digit royalties on past and future Covid vaccine sales.

Moderna said it is not asking the courts to remove Pfizer and Biontech’s Covid vaccines from the market or to block future sales.

The company is seeking damages for the period beginning March 8 of this year and has said it will not seek damages for Pfizer’s sales to 92 low- and middle-income countries. Early in the coronavirus crisis, Moderna pledged not to enforce its intellectual property rights during the pandemic, but on March 7 it changed its pledge to apply only to low-income countries. changed and basically made this lawsuit possible.

“We are filing a lawsuit to protect our innovative mRNA technology platform,” said Stephan Bancel, CEO of Moderna, in a statement. We’ve developed it over the last decade and invested billions of dollars in patents.”

Pfizer and BioNTech “have added the exact same chemical modification to mRNA that was first developed by Moderna scientists years ago and patented by the company and used in Spikevax,” the lawsuit said. , “The Pfizer and BioNTech vaccines encode exactly the same type of coronavirus protein (i.e., the full-length spike protein), which is the coronavirus vaccine that Moderna pioneered, building on previous work on coronaviruses.” The design is patented by the company and used in the Spikevax.”

mRNA vaccines have played an important role in the pandemic response, especially in the United States. Pfizer made about $37 billion in sales from Comminati last year, while Moderna made about $18 billion in sales from Spikebacks.

Moderna said it had pledged not to enforce its patents “while the pandemic lasts” to avoid distracting efforts to end the outbreak. In March, Moderna said it expects companies like Pfizer and BioNTech to respect its intellectual property.

Intellectual property battles over technology used in both Moderna and Pfizer Biotech vaccines are heating up. Alnylam Pharmaceuticals Inc. sued Moderna, Pfizer and BioNTech earlier this year over the lipid nanoparticle technology used in his Covid vaccines. Moderna clashed with the National Institutes of Health over whether to list the agency’s scientists as inventors of Moderna’s Covid vaccine patent.

Moderna said Pfizer and BioNTech have other options, but have decided to go ahead with a vaccine that has exactly the same mRNA chemical modifications as Moderna’s shot and the vaccine. accused of copying the approach of encoding full-length spike proteins into lipid nanoparticles.

©2022 Bloomberg LP

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