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Moderna Sues Pfizer for Patent Infringement of its Covid-19 Vaccine

The US biotech company files a lawsuit alleging infringement of its mRNA technology that's been highly effective in combating the coronavirus.
Moderna Sues Pfizer for Patent Infringement of its Covid-19 Vaccine

Moderna said it is suing Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech for patent infringement linked to the development of the first Covid-19 vaccines, reports BBC News. The US biotech company is alleging that mRNA technology it developed before the pandemic was copied.

Moderna suing Pfizer over Covid vaccine technology (BBC News)

Excerpt from BBC News: The lawsuit, which is seeking unspecified financial damages, was filed in the US and Germany. Pfizer said it was "surprised" by the action and would "vigorously defend" itself against the allegations. In a statement, Moderna said Pfizer/ BioNTech copied two key elements of its intellectual property. One involves a "chemical modification" which Moderna says its scientists were the first to demonstrate in human trials in 2015, and means the vaccine "avoids provoking an undesirable immune response". The second alleged infringement is related to the way both vaccines target the distinctive spike protein on the outside of the virus. "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," Moderna chief executive Stephane Bancel said.
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According to the New York Times, Moderna said in a statement that Pfizer and BioNTech infringed on patents filed between 2010 and 2016 that covered its mRNA technology. Moderna, which is based in Cambridge, Mass., sued in U.S. District Court in Massachusetts and the Regional Court of Düsseldorf in Germany, where BioNTech is based.

Moderna Sues Pfizer and BioNTech Over Covid Vaccine (New York Times)

Excerpt from the New York Times: Christopher Ridley, a spokesman for Moderna, said the company did not have an estimate for the amount of damages it was seeking. Messenger RNA, or mRNA, is the genetic script that carries DNA instructions to each cell’s protein-making machinery and has been used in the production of coronavirus vaccines. "This foundational platform, which we began building in 2010, along with our patented work on coronaviruses in 2015 and 2016, enabled us to produce a safe and highly effective Covid-19 vaccine in record time after the pandemic struck," said Bancel.
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In a related story also from the New York Times, the Biden administration plans to offer the next generation of coronavirus booster shots to Americans 12 and older soon after Labor Day, a campaign that federal officials hope will reduce deaths from Covid-19 and protect against an expected winter surge.

Biden Administration Plans for New Booster Campaign Soon After Labor Day (New York Times)

Excerpt from the New York Times: Dr. Peter Marks, the top vaccine regulator for the Food and Drug Administration, said in an interview on Tuesday that while he could not discuss timing, his team was close to authorizing updated doses that would target the versions of the virus now circulating. Even though those formulations have not been tested in humans, he said, the agency has "extremely good" data showing that the shots are safe and will be effective. "How confident am I?" he said. "I’m extremely confident." This week, both Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech finalized their submissions to the FDA asking for emergency authorization of booster shots aimed at BA.5 and another subvariant of Omicron that together account for most coronavirus cases in the United States. Federal health officials say they are eager to offer the updated boosters as quickly as possible, pointing to a death toll that now averages about 450 Americans per day and could rise in the coming months as people spend more time indoors.
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