Moderna sues Pfizer/BioNTech over Covid vaccine

26 August 2022, 15:43

Moderna to sue Pfizer and BioNtech over Covid vaccine
Moderna to sue Pfizer and BioNtech over Covid vaccine. Picture: Alamy

By Cameron Kerr

Moderna is suing rival Pfizer and German drug manufacturer BioNTech, seeking unspecified damages alleging that the companies copied technology developed years before the pandemic.

Moderna chief executive Stephane Bancel said: "We are filing these lawsuits to protect the innovative mRNA technology platform that we pioneered, invested billions of dollars in creating, and patented during the decade preceding the COVID-19 pandemic."

Mr Bancel said the technology, which helped Moderna create vaccines that were as much as 90% effective against Covid, is now being used to develop treatments for influenza, HIV and even cardiovascular diseases and rare forms of cancer.

Moderna has been a pioneer in mRNA technology, despite the company only being a decade old.
Moderna has been a pioneer in mRNA technology, despite the company only being a decade old. Picture: Alamy

Moderna's chief legal officer Shannon Thyme Klinger said that Moderna believes that "Pfizer and BioNTech unlawfully copied Moderna's inventions, and they have continued to use them without permission."

Moderna has been a pioneer in messenger RNA (mRNA) technology - despite being only a decade old.

The mRNA technology teaches human cells how to make a protein that will trigger an immune response, and helped to speed up the approval process of the vaccines.

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Moderna is alleging that Pfizer and BioNTech copied technology that it had patented between 2010 and 2016 - years before the emergence of Covid in 2019.

Moderna claims Pfizer chose to develop a vaccine similar to its' own product, instead of selecting options that would have 'steered clear of Moderna's innovative path'.
Moderna claims Pfizer chose to develop a vaccine similar to its' own product, instead of selecting options that would have 'steered clear of Moderna's innovative path'. Picture: Alamy
This year, Moderna's vaccine has earned the company £8.8 billion this in revenue - but Pfizer has earned £18.6 billion from its vaccine.
This year, Moderna's vaccine has earned the company £8.8 billion this in revenue - but Pfizer has earned £18.6 billion from its vaccine. Picture: Alamy

The company had said at the beginning of the pandemic that it would not enforce its Covid patents to help others to develop vaccines, but told companies in March that it expected them to respect its intellectual property rights.

In a statement the company said: "Pfizer and BioNTech took four different vaccine candidates into clinical testing, which included options that would have steered clear of Moderna's innovative path, however, ultimately decided to proceed with a vaccine that has the same exact mRNA chemical modification to its [Moderna's] vaccine."

Moderna's vaccine has generated £8.8 billion in revenue for the company this year, while Pfizer's vaccine has raised £18.6 billion.

Pfizer said it had not been served and that they were not able to comment at this time.

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