A recent FiercePharma article discussed what could be the biggest pharmaceutical lawsuit of our generation. Moderna filed patent infringement lawsuits in the United States and Germany claiming Pfizer and its vaccine partner BioNTech have violated patents that were established between 2010 and 2016. If successful, the lawsuit could result in a massive payout for Moderna, as Pfizer and BioNTech have raked in tens of billions in revenue from their COVID-19 vaccine.
Moderna claims the companies copied “key features” of their patented technology. First, the companies tested four vaccine candidates, but the one that advanced had the same mRNA chemical modification as Moderna’s. Second, Moderna claims the defendants encoded a full-length spike protein in a lipid nanoparticle formulation for a coronavirus, a technology Moderna developed years ago during a Middle East Respiratory Syndrome outbreak.
Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel said in a statement that the company aims to “protect the innovative mRNA technology that we pioneered, invested billions of dollars into creating, and patented during the decade preceding the COVID-19 pandemic.”