Moderna to file patent lawsuits against Pfizer/BioNTech over mRNA technology
Moderna (NASDAQ:MRNA) announced Friday that the company is filing lawsuits against rival COVID-19 vaccine makers Pfizer (PFE) and BioNTech (BNTX) over patent infringement related to the the messenger RNA technology.
Pfizer (PFE) and BioNTech (BNTX) have led the U.S. market for COVID-19 vaccines ahead of Moderna (MRNA).
The cases will be filed in the U.S. District Court of Massachusetts and the Regional Court of Düsseldorf in Germany.
Moderna (MRNA) alleges that the Comirnaty COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer (PFE) and BioNTech (BNTX) infringes patents the company filed between 2010 and 2016 covering the mRNA technology.
"This groundbreaking technology was critical to the development of Moderna's own mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, Spikevax. Pfizer and BioNTech copied this technology, without Moderna's permission, to make Comirnaty," the Massachusetts-based biotech added.
Announcing the decision, Moderna (MRNA) said it is not seeking the removal of Comirnaty from the market and does not seek an injunction to prevent its future sales.
In addition, the company is not seeking damages occurring before Mar. 08 and where the U.S. government could be implicated.
No damages are sought from Pfizer (PFE) vaccine sales to 92 low- and middle-income countries which came under COVAX, a vaccine initiative backed by the World Health Organization.
In Oct. 2020, Moderna (MRNA) pledged not to enforce its COVID-19-related patents during the pandemic.
In March, the biotech updated the pledge noting that companies such as Pfizer (PFE) and BioNTech (BNTX) should respect its intellectual property rights by obtaining a commercial license for markets outside the 92 low- and middle-income countries.
All three vaccine makers are involved in separate lawsuits with Alnylam Pharmaceuticals (ALNY) and Arbutus (ABUS) over patent infringements related to COVID-19 shots.