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Moderna is suing Pfizer and BioNTech for allegedly infringing on patents the company filed from 2010 to 2016.
Moderna announced on Aug. 26, 2022 that it was filing patent infringement lawsuits against Pfizer and BioNTech over a dispute concerning the company's Comirnaty vaccine. Moderna alleges that Pfizer and BioNTech infringed on patents Moderna filed between 2010 and 2016 concerning the company’s mRNA technology, which they allege the companies copied without permission in the creation of Comirnaty.
"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," said Stéphane Bancel, CEO, Moderna, in a company press release. "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.”
In October 2020, Moderna pledged not to enforce its COVID-19-related patents while the pandemic was ongoing. The company updated this pledge in March 2022, when they deemed that vaccine supply was no longer a barrier to access in many parts of the world.
According to the release, Moderna is not looking to remove Comirnaty from the market and is not seeking damages for sales prior to March 8, 2022 or that the United States government would be responsible for. The company also indicated that it will not enforce these patents in 92 low- and middle-income (AMC 92) countries.
"We believe that Pfizer and BioNTech unlawfully copied Moderna's inventions, and they have continued to use them without permission," said Shannon Thyme Klinger, chief legal officer, Moderna, in the release. "Outside of AMC 92 countries, where vaccine supply is no longer a barrier to access, Moderna expects Pfizer and BioNTech to compensate Moderna for Comirnaty's ongoing use of Moderna's patented technologies. Our mission to create a new generation of transformative medicines for patients by delivering on the promise of mRNA science cannot be achieved without a patent system that rewards and protects innovation."