Another Patent Dispute Emerges: Small Biotech Firm Sues Moderna, Pfizer, and BioNTech Over COVID-19 Vaccine Tech

Pfizer Inc PFEBioNTech SE BNTX, and Moderna Inc MRNA were named in lawsuits by Promosome accusing their COVID-19 vaccines of infringing a patent related to messenger RNA (mRNA) technology.

The small biotechnology firm claims that its scientists, including Nobel laureate Gerald Edelman, who died in 2014, Vincent Mauro, and two colleagues from The Scripps Research Institute, developed a method used in the COVID-19 vaccines.

The lawsuit claims that one of the scientists' significant contributions is a patented method for increasing mRNA protein expression, protected by U.S. Patent No. 8,853,179 (the 179 Patent).

Promosome, the exclusive licensee of the ’179 patent, disclosed and taught its method of increasing protein expression to Moderna, but Moderna declined to license it. 

Also Read: US Court Favors Moderna In COVID-19 Vaccine Patent Infringement Case With Arbutus Biopharma.

Years later, Moderna developed a COVID-19 vaccine generating billions in revenue. And when the sequence used in its mRNA was revealed, it became clear that Moderna had taken Promosome's patented method.

The lawsuits alleged that Promosome had discussions with Moderna between 2013 and 2016 regarding the licensing of the technology. 

Promosome claimed that its president demonstrated the technology to a senior BioNTech scientist in 2015, Reuters noted. However, neither company agreed to a license agreement.

This lawsuit adds to the ongoing patent disputes among biotech companies concerning the technology utilized in the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines. 

Last month Alnylam Pharmaceuticals Inc ALNY asserted that Pfizer and Moderna infringed on patents with their COVID-19 vaccines.

The new lawsuits mark the third time Alnylam has sued Pfizer and Moderna in Delaware for allegedly violating its patent rights in lipid nanoparticle (LNP) technology.

Price Action: MRNA shares are down 0.16% at $126.70 during the premarket session on the last check Wednesday.

Photo by Johaehn from Pixabay

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