Moderna sues Pfizer-BioNTech, alleging COVID-19 vaccine patent infringement

Moderna has sued Pfizer and its German associate BioNTech, alleging the rival companies improperly used its foundational know-how in creating their coronavirus vaccine. The go well with units up a authorized battle between probably the most distinguished corporations that helped curb the coronavirus pandemic within the US by creating extremely efficient photographs in file time.

“We consider that Pfizer and BioNTech unlawfully copied Moderna’s innovations, they usually have continued to make use of them with out permission,” Moderna Chief Authorized Officer Shannon Thyme Klinger mentioned on Friday (US time). The corporate mentioned it filed fits in US District Courtroom in Massachusetts and in Germany, the place BioNTech is headquartered.

Vials of the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.

Vials of the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.Credit score:AP

The prospect of a authorized battle between the mRNA vaccine makers factors to the excessive stakes within the competitors between Pfizer, a worldwide pharmaceutical big, and Moderna, a start-up biotechnology firm primarily based in Massachusetts that had by no means earlier than offered a product earlier than it gained emergency authorisation from the Meals and Drug Administration for its coronavirus vaccine in late 2020.

Patent lawsuits, frequent within the biotech trade, sometimes play out over years and sometimes wind up in federal appeals courts. It might be three to 5 years earlier than Moderna’s dispute with Pfizer-BioNTech is resolved.

Pfizer mentioned Friday it had not obtained a duplicate of the go well with and didn’t but have a response. Final month, in response to a patent go well with introduced towards it by CureVac, a German firm that tried to provide a coronavirus vaccine, BioNTech said that its “work is unique, and we are going to vigorously defend it towards all allegations of patent infringement.”


Moderna and Pfizer have made tens of billions of {dollars} in coronavirus vaccine gross sales. However Moderna mentioned it’s not searching for an injunction towards Pfizer’s sale of its vaccine or its removing from the market, in recognition of the necessity “to make sure continued entry to those lifesaving medicines.”

Relatively, the result of the dispute might show to be extra related for future makes use of of the mRNA know-how. The mRNA platform holds the promise of future vaccines towards influenza, HIV and different ailments.

“We’re submitting these lawsuits to guard the revolutionary mRNA know-how platform that we pioneered, invested billions of {dollars} in creating, and patented through the decade previous the COVID-19 pandemic,” Moderna chief government Stéphane Bancel mentioned within the firm’s launch.

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