US technology company Moderna said it has filed a lawsuit against rivals Pfizer and Biontech for patent infringement in the development of the first COVID-19 vaccine approved in the United States.
The lawsuits were filed in U.S. District Court in Massachusetts and in the District Court in Düsseldorf, Germany, and place the beginning of a clash between the leading manufacturers of Covid-19 vaccines, which are a key tool in the fight against the disease.
The American technology company claims that Pfizer and Biotentech copied technology it developed years before the pandemic.
“We are filing these lawsuits to protect the innovative mRNA technology platform we pioneered. We invested billions of dollars in its creation and patented it in the decade leading up to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Moderna CEO Stefan Bansel.
Moderna believes that Pfizer and Biontec’s Covid-19 vaccine” infringes Moderna’s patents filed between 2010 and 2016, which encompass Moderna’s foundational mRNA technology, the company said in a statement.
“This innovative technology was critical to the development of Moderna’s proprietary Covid-19 mRNA vaccine, Spikevax. Pfizer and Biontech copied this technology, without Moderna’s permission, to make Komirnati” , adds “Modern”.
The American company, which is based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, pioneered the technology to create the messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccine that was created at the turn of the century. Its presence enabled the unprecedented speed in the development of the vaccine against COVID-19.
mRNA vaccines have been the most successful of all the products created in the past two years to prevent coronavirus infection. They are produced in billions of doses.
The mRNA technology used in Moderna’s and Pfizer-Biontech’s injections differs from that in traditional vaccines, which rely on injecting weakened or dead forms of the virus so the immune system can recognize it and build antibodies.
mRNA vaccines use messenger RNA encoding one or more antigens to create immunity against pathogens containing those antigens. When this RNA enters the body’s cells, it is translated into a specific protein that triggers an immune response, i.e. acts as an antigen.