War between Moderna against Pfizer and BioNTech

Moderna sues Pfizer and BioNTech over COVID-19 vaccine patents

ivan rodriguez gelfenstein

R. Gelfenstein – Moderna said Friday that Pfizer and BioNTech's Comirnaty vaccine infringes patents Moderna filed years ago to protect its Spikevax vaccine technology to produce its COVID-19 vaccine.

Pfizer spokeswoman Pam Eisele said the company hasn't reviewed Moderna's entire process, but that the drugmaker was surprised because its vaccine is based on technology developed by BioNTech and Pfizer.

He noted that New York-based Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech are "standing up strongly" against any lawsuits in the matter.

"When COVID-19 hit, neither Pfizer nor BioNTech had Moderna's level of expertise in developing mRNA coronavirus vaccines," Moderna said in a lawsuit filed Friday in U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts.

MRNA vaccines work by injecting the genetic code into the spike protein that lines the surface of the coronavirus.

This code, mRNA, is encapsulated in a small ball of fat and tells the body's cells to make harmless copies of spikes that train the immune system to recognize the actual virus.

This approach is radically different from the way vaccines are traditionally produced.

Moderna said it began developing its mRNA technology platform in 2010, allowing it to rapidly produce its post-pandemic COVID-19 vaccine in early 2020.

In the same year, U.S. regulators authorized the use of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines after clinical research showed that both were highly effective.

Moderna claimed in its lawsuit that Pfizer and BioNTech copied key features of its technology, including creating "exactly the same chemical modification of its mRNA that Moderna scientists had developed years earlier" and used in Spikevax.

Moderna said it recognizes the importance of access to vaccines and has no plans to take Comirnaty off the market. It is also not necessary to obtain a court order to prevent future sales.

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