Moderna is suing Pfizer-BioNTech for patent infringement on their vaccine

The American biotechnology company Moderna announced, Friday, August 26, that it will file a complaint against Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech due to patent infringement regarding their messenger RNA vaccine against Covid-19.

“We filed this case to protect the [technologie] The new messenger RNA we developed, invested in billions of dollars, and patented in the decade before the Covid-19 pandemic.said Stéphane Bancel, chief executive of Moderna, in a statement from the company.

Get damages

According to the biotechnology company, “The Comirnaty vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech against Covid-19 is against [ces] patents ». Moderna claims that Pfizer-BioNTech copied, without permission, the messenger RNA vaccine technology that Moderna patented between 2010 and 2016, before Covid-19 emerged. Moderna added that the Pfizer-BioNTech alliance uses two types of intellectual property.

One involves a messenger RNA structure that Moderna claims began developing in 2010; the second alleged violation is related to the coding of a complete spike protein that the Moderna teams, according to the company, developed during the development of a vaccine against the coronavirus responsible for the Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) .

The lawsuit, which seeks unspecified monetary damages, was filed in the District Court of Massachusetts, USA, and the Düsseldorf Regional Court, Germany.

Pfizer and BioNTech said in a message to Agence France-Presse on Friday that they had not yet fully investigated the complaint. Both companies said “Surprised by the litigation”because of their vaccine against Covid-19 “based on BioNTech’s proprietary messenger RNA technology and developed by BioNTech and Pfizer”. They said they were ready to defend themselves “strong” against “allegations” in Moderna’s complaint.

Stay in control of technology

Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech were the first to put their vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 into production, shortly after the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, thanks to messenger RNA technology that made it possible to order human cells to make proteins that are. of the virus to train the immune system to recognize and neutralize it.

Until then, vaccines relied on weakened or inactive forms of the virus to train the body to defend itself, and the development of drugs, as well as clinical trials to prove their safety, it could be many years. The use of messenger RNA technology in Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines, among the most injected in the world, is the culmination of four decades of research that has overcome many obstacles.

Also read Covid-19: imagine how Omicron and its sublines are replacing other variants

Moderna also seems to want to maintain control over technologies that can be used in many other contexts. The company uses its platform of messenger RNA technologies for the development of treatments for influenza, HIV, autoimmune and cardiovascular diseases and cancers.

However, this complaint is not the first case for patent infringement of the new messenger RNA technology. Moderna, for example, is already the subject of complaints by smaller biotech companies Arbutus Biopharma and Genevant Sciences. BioNTech is also affected by a complaint in Germany from its compatriot CureVac, to which BioNTech and Pfizer responded with another approach in the United States.

Bivalent booster vaccines

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) will conduct, on 1er September, a rare meeting dedicated to Moderna and Pfizer requests for authorization for a new generation of so-called “bivalent” vaccines, used as a booster dose against Covid-19.

These modified vaccines refer to the original strain of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, first discovered in China, and Omicron’s BA.1 subvariant. The United Kingdom is the first country to approve a bivalent vaccine, Moderna’s.

WEA announced a new vaccine against Covid-19, developed by the German laboratory SK Chemicals, which relies on nanotechnology to attack the virus, in anticipation of a possible resurgence of the pandemic in fall If approved, the vaccine, called Skycovion, would be the seventh to be approved in the European Union.

Also read: Article reserved for our subscribers Vaccines: “The investment to provide all regions of the world with the latest production infrastructure is an important asset for our common health security”

Le Monde with AFP and Reuters

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