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Moderna: Coronavirus Vaccine Patents Will Go Unenforced During Pandemic

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Moderna: Coronavirus Vaccine Patents Will Go Unenforced During Pandemic

Moderna Inc (NASDAQ: MRNA), which could potentially obtain emergency use authorization for its investigational coronavirus vaccine candidate before the year is out, said it will not enforce patents related to its COVID-19 vaccine during the pandemic.

What Happened: The Cambridge, Massachusetts-based company said in a Thursday statement that it will not enforce its COVID-19-related patents against others working on vaccines to combat the virus.

To eliminate intellectual property barriers to vaccine development during the pandemic, Moderna said it is willing to license its IP for COVID-19 vaccines by request for the post-pandemic period. 

The company said it feels obliged to use its resources to bring the pandemic to an end as quickly as possible.

"Moderna is proud that its mRNA technology is poised to be used to help end the current pandemic," the company said in the statement.

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Why It's Important: Moderna's decision regarding patent non-enforcement goes against the industry norms of innovators fighting tooth-and-nail to protect and safeguard their patents so they can enjoy the associated extended period of exclusivity and profits. 

Other vaccine developers such as the Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE)-BioNTech SE – ADR (NASDAQ: BNTX) combine are also developing an mRNA vaccine against SARS-CoV-2.

Moderna Snags DARPA Funding: Separately, Moderna announced an agreement for a commitment of up to $56 million from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency to fund development of a mobile manufacturing protype that leverages existing manufacturing technology that's capable of rapidly producing vaccines and therapeutics.

The company also said in a separate release it has regained full rights to the respiratory syncytial virus vaccine, codenamed mRNA-1172, from Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE: MRK).

The vaccine uses a Merck lipid nanoparticle for delivery and entered Phase 1 development in 2019. The agreement provides for Merck completing the Phase 1 study and transitioning the program to Moderna.

MRNA Price Action: Moderna shares were trading slightly positive at $72.38 at the time of publication Thursday. 

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