Moderna on Friday set up legal clashes between drug companies behind best-selling jabs that copy the ‘breakthrough technology’ behind the Covid-19 vaccine and are used to fight the pandemic said it will sue Pfizer and BioNTech.

The US biotech company said it would seek damages from its competitors for allegedly infringing on several patents protecting Moderna’s messenger RNA technology platform. These patents, including those related to chemical modifications that allow mRNA to enter the human body without triggering an unwanted immune response, were integral to the development of the Covid jab. .

Moderna said it would not block the BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine from the market or seek an injunction against future sales because of its life-saving role in the pandemic. sold under the name

However, it expects rivals such as Pfizer and Biontech to respect its own intellectual property, and said it would consider exercising these legal rights through litigation in US and German courts.

Stephane Bansel, CEO of Moderna, said:

Moderna continues to use its mRNA platform to develop medicines to prevent HIV, influenza and other diseases, but does not license its technology to rivals on commercially reasonable terms. said to consider.

Moderna’s decision to sue its archrival signaled a serious escalation of intellectual property disputes over ownership of mRNA, the technology that teaches the immune system to recognize viruses based on parts of the genetic code. is showing.

Smaller companies have already filed a series of patent infringement claims against Pfizer, BioNTech and Moderna related to their use of mRNA.

The stakes are high, with experts predicting Pfizer, BioNTech and Moderna will generate $52 billion in vaccine sales in 2022, according to health data analytics firm Airfinity. Many companies are aiming to develop new drugs based on the same mRNA technology.

Kevin Noonan, an attorney specializing in MBHB patent litigation, said at this stage of the pandemic it was only natural that lawsuits related to ownership of mRNA technology would “emerge out of the woodwork.”

“Many people are very cautious about filing lawsuits during a pandemic, pretending they are doing something to prevent, delay, or impede companies from manufacturing a vaccine. I think we tried not to, so there was a two-and-a-half-year hiatus.”

Now that the immediate crisis has passed, companies are racing to protect their investments in mRNA technology before the pandemic by filing patent lawsuits, Noonan said.

Moderna said it would seek damages from Pfizer and BioNtech only for sales registered after March 8, which it said was consistent with its previous pledge not to enforce its patents while the pandemic continued. Nor will we seek damages for sales of vaccines to 92 low-income countries or for sales for which the U.S. government is ultimately responsible.

Pfizer and BioNTech did not immediately respond to requests for comment.


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