Moderna sues Pfizer and BioNTech for Patent Infringement Related to COVID-19 VaccinesAugust 29, 2022

On Friday Moderna issued a news release stating that the company is filing complaints in both the United States and Germany alleging that Pfizer and BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine (Comirnaty®) infringes three of Moderna’s patents. The patents at issue are US Patent Nos 10,898574, 10,702,600, and 10,933,127.

The patents cover Moderna’s mRNA technology that Moderna say was critical to the development of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine (Spikevax®). Moderna alleges that Pfizer and BioNTech copied this technology to make Comirnaty®.

In October 2020, Moderna pledged not to enforce its COVID-19 related patents during the pandemic. In March 2022, Moderna altered the pledge to state that it would not enforce its patents for any COVID-19 vaccine used in 92 low- to middle-income countries. Moderna states that it expected Pfizer and BioNTech to consider a “commercially reasonable” license for the other markets, which, according to Moderna, Pfizer and BioNTech failed to do.

Moderna alleges that Pfizer and BioNTech’s vaccine has the same mRNA chemical modification as Spikevax®, which avoids provoking an undesirable immune response when mRNA is introduced into the body. Additionally, Moderna alleges that Pfizer and BioNTech copied Moderna’s approach to encode for the full-length spike protein in a lipid nanoparticle formulation for a coronavirus that the Moderna scientists developed when creating a vaccine for a separate virus years before COVID-19.

Moderna is seeking monetary damages on sales of Comirnaty® and not removal of the vaccine from the market nor injunction against its sales.

Moderna’s press release can be found here.

Julie L. Spieker is an Intellectual Property Attorney in the MVS Biotechnology & Chemical Practice Group as well as the Mechanical and Electrical Practice Group. To learn more, visit our MVS website , or contact Julie directly via email .

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