COVID-19 vaccine: Moderna accuses Pfizer/BioNTech of patent infringement | Coronavirus

COVID-19 vaccine: Moderna accuses Pfizer/BioNTech of patent infringement | Coronavirus

Moderna says it is “convinced that Pfizer and BioNTech's Comirnaty COVID-19 vaccine infringes patents it had filed between 2010 and 2016”.

The American laboratory Moderna launched a major legal battle against Pfizer and BioNTech on Friday, accusing them of infringing patents on technologies essential to its messenger RNA vaccine against COVID-19.

Moderna is convinced that Pfizer and BioNTech's Comirnaty vaccine against COVID-19 infringes patents filed by Moderna between 2010 and 2016, says a statement from the firm.

But the company also seems to want to keep control of technologies that can be used in many other contexts, Moderna pointing out using its platform of technologies related to messenger RNA for the development of treatments against influenza, HIV, autoimmune and cardiovascular diseases and cancers.

Moderna and Pfizer associated with BioNTech were the first to put their vaccines against the coronavirus into production, very soon after the start of the pandemic , thanks to this messenger RNA technology which allows human cells to be ordered to manufacture proteins present in the virus in order to accustom the immune system to recognize and neutralize it.

Until then, vaccines relied on weakened or deactivated forms of viruses to train the body to defend itself, and the development of cures and clinical trials to verify their safety could take several years.

The use of messenger RNA technology in vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech, among the most injected in the world, was the culmination of four decades of research that has overcome many obstacles.

The flexibility allowed by the messenger RNA and the ability to make the body produce antigens itself make it possible to expect many for other illnesses.

Moderna clarified that it is filing suit in the state of Massachusetts in the United States and in Dusseldorf in Germany.< /p>

Resolving such a case in court can take years.

Pfizer and BioNTech said they were surprised by the litigation in a message to the #x27;AFP on Friday, as their COVID-19 vaccine is based on BioNTech's proprietary messenger RNA technology and was developed by both BioNTech and Pfizer.

It's unfortunate, but rather common, for other companies to allege that a successful product potentially infringes their intellectual property, BioNTech said in a separate statement.

Both companies have said they are prepared to vigorously defend themselves against the allegations in Moderna's complaint.

This is not the first patent infringement lawsuit on novel messenger RNA technology. Moderna, for example, is already being sued by small biotech companies Arbutus Biopharma Corporation and Genevant Sciences.

BioNTech is also concerned by a complaint in Germany from its compatriot CureVac, to which BioNTech and Pfizer responded by another procedure in the United States.

We are launching these lawsuits to protect the innovative messenger RNA technology platform we pioneered, invested billions of dollars in and patented in the decade before the COVID-19 pandemic, commented the boss of Moderna, Stéphane Bancel, in the press release.

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The laboratory emphasizes that it has committed, as of October 2020, not to launch intellectual property lawsuits while the pandemic is raging, but believes that it has now moved on to a new stage.

The company is not asking that Pfizer/BioNTech withdraw its vaccine from the market, but is asking for financial compensation, only for vaccines sold since last March.

Pfizer expects to sell $32 billion worth of its COVID-19 vaccine in all of 2022.

Moderna also clarifies that the patents for which it is suing Pfizer and BioNTech were not conceived when the company was collaborating with the American public research agency to accelerate work in the fight against COVID-19.

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