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on Friday launched a battle for management of the way forward for messenger RNA know-how, saying that it was suing its opponents
within the U.S. and Germany for patent infringement.
In a lawsuit it stated it was submitting on Friday in federal courtroom in Massachusetts,
is claiming that its opponents’ Covid-19 vaccine, which holds a dominant share of the U.S. Covid-19 vaccine market, infringes on patents held by Moderna (ticker: MRNA).
The patents relate to 2 features of Moderna’s method to mRNA medicines, one regarding a chemical modification made to the mRNA itself, and one other to the idea behind the vaccine.
Moderna’s patent claims look like foundational to the mRNA know-how itself, and look to be an effort to say broad rights over the long run not simply of the Covid-19 vaccines, however of mRNA-based medicines basically.
The courts will take years to return to a closing choice on the validity of Moderna’s case. Within the meantime, the litigation may throw some uncertainty over the sector of mRNA-based medicines, into which a variety of huge pharma corporations have thrown themselves for the reason that pandemic proved the know-how’s worth.
Moderna stated it’s looking for financial damages from
(BNTX), and never trying to have the Pfizer vaccine faraway from the market. It additionally stated that it solely looking for damages for gross sales of the vaccine since March of this 12 months, and received’t search damages for gross sales of the vaccine in low-income international locations.
Pfizer stated early Friday that it had not but been served with the lawsuit, and was unable to remark. BioNTech didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.
The brand new Moderna lawsuits are the newest, and highest-profile, in a rising variety of patent claims across the mRNA-based Covid-19 vaccines. Whereas educational scientists and, later, firms like Moderna and BioNTech, had been engaged on mRNA vaccines and therapeutics for years earlier than the Covid-19 pandemic arrived, the know-how had not but been commercialized.
Moderna itself already faces a patent lawsuit from
(ABUS) over the design of the lipid nanoparticle that wrap the mRNA in Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine, whereas an mRNA-focused biotech known as
(CVAC) has sued BioNTech in Germany over alleged patent infringements associated to different features of the mRNA know-how. In response, Pfizer and BioNTech have sued CureVac in federal court in the U.S.
The lawsuits will take years to maneuver via the authorized system. A district-court ruling alone may take greater than two years, and any choice would possible be appealed by whichever celebration loses.
A victory by Moderna would safe for the corporate a dominant place within the long-term market for mRNA-based vaccines and therapeutics. One of many claims Moderna makes in its lawsuit seems to narrate to a modification made to the mRNA used within the vaccine involving the substitution of a nucleotide known as uridine with a synthetic element known as pseudouridine. Whereas each Moderna and Pfizer took this method with their Covid-19 vaccines, CureVac didn’t; its vaccine was unsuccessful in scientific trials.
It is a growing story.
Write to Josh Nathan-Kazis at [email protected]