Moderna announced on Friday that it is suing Pfizer and its partner, BioNTech, alleging they copied the technology it used to produce the COVID-19 vaccine.
The company said in a news release that Pfizer-BioNTech infringed on its messenger RNA technology patents.
“Moderna believes that Pfizer and BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine Comirnaty® infringes patents Moderna filed between 2010 and 2016 covering Moderna’s foundational mRNA technology,” the pharmaceutical firm said.
“This groundbreaking technology was critical to the development of Moderna’s own mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, Spikevax. Pfizer and BioNTech copied this technology, without Moderna’s permission, to make Comirnaty,” it said.
The lawsuits were to be filed in U.S. District Court in Massachusetts, since Moderna is based in Cambridge, and the Regional Court of Düsseldorf in Germany, which is where BioNTech is based, The New York Times reported.
“We believe that Pfizer and BioNTech unlawfully copied Moderna’s inventions, and they have continued to use them without permission,” Moderna Chief Legal Officer Shannon Thyme Klinger said in a statement.
The Times quoted Moderna spokesman Christopher Ridley as saying the company did not have an estimate for the monetary damages it was seeking. According to the U.K.’s Guardian, Pfizer made $37 billion on its COVID vaccine last year alone expected to bring in billions more this year.
“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 CEO Stéphane Bancel said in the company’s news 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,” Bancel said.
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“As we work to combat health challenges moving forward, Moderna is using our mRNA technology platform to develop medicines that could treat and prevent infectious diseases like influenza and HIV, as well as autoimmune and cardiovascular diseases and rare forms…