Moderna filed patent infringement lawsuits Friday against Pfizer and BioNTech “for infringement of patents central to (its) mRNA technology platform,” the company said in a Friday press release.
“Moderna believes that Pfizer and BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine, Comirnaty, infringes patents Moderna filed between 2010 and 2016 for Moderna’s basic mRNA technology. This breakthrough technology was critical to the development of Spikevax, Moderna’s proprietary mRNA COVID-19 vaccine. Pfizer and BioNTech copied this technology, without Moderna’s permission, to create Comirnaty,” the press release said.
Pfizer has not been served and is unable to comment at this time, a company spokesperson told CNN.
Moderna said in the press release that it does not seek to remove Pfizer’s vaccine from the market or prevent future sales of its vaccine, nor is it seeking damages from sales in specific circumstances.
Those circumstances include the sale of the vaccines in AMC 92 countries that constitute low- and middle-income countries, including in cases where “the U.S. government would be responsible for any damages” and for operations before March 8, 2022.
“Consistent with its commitment to equitable global access, in October 2020 Moderna pledged not to enforce its COVID-19-related patents as long as the pandemic continued. In March 2022, as the collective fight against COVID-19 entered a new phase and the supply of vaccines in many parts of the world was no longer a barrier to entry, Moderna updated its pledge. It made it clear that while it would never enforce its patents for any COVID-19 vaccine used in the 92 low- and middle-income countries in the GAVI COVAX Advance Market Commitment (AMC 92), Moderna expected companies like Pfizer and BioNTech to be intellectual property rights and would consider a commercially reasonable license if they applied for one for other markets. Pfizer and BioNTech have not done so,” the statement said.
Moderna also outlined specific cases where the company alleges Pfizer has infringed on its patents, saying the company was making progress with “a vaccine that has the exact same chemical mRNA modification in its vaccine as Spikevax. Moderna scientists began developing this chemical modification that prevents an unwanted immune response from being elicited when mRNA is introduced into the body in 2010 and were the first to validate it in human trials in 2015.”
Moderna also says: “Pfizer and BioNTech have copied Moderna’s approach to encode the full-length spike protein in a lipid nanoparticle formulation for a coronavirus. Moderna scientists developed this approach when years before COVID-19 first emerged. vaccine for the coronavirus that causes Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).”
Moderna and Pfizer’s mRNA Covid-19 vaccines have formed the backbone of the US vaccination strategy, with Pfizer making up the majority of the doses administered.
As of Friday morning, 360,175,884 million doses of Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine were administered in the US and 229,236,868 doses of Moderna were administered.