Vaccine maker Moderna on Friday said it is suing rival vaccine makers Pfizer and BioNTech, for copying its technology in developing covid vaccine shots. Moderna in the statement also alleged that Pfizer and BioNTech infringed on patents filed between 2010 and 2016 that covered its mRNA technology.
The company filed patent infringement lawsuits in both U.S. federal court and a German court. Moderna and Pfizer’s two-shot vaccines both use mRNA technology to help patients fight the coronavirus.
Moderna said in the release that it is not aiming to remove Pfizer’s vaccine from the market or prevent future sales of its vaccine and also is not seeking damages of its sale in specific circumstances.
Those circumstances include the sale of the vaccines in AMC 92 countries which make up low and middle-income countries, also in instances where “The U.S. Government would be responsible for any damages” and for activities before March 8, 2022.
Moderna is also facing lawsuits — biotechnology companies Arbutus Biopharma and Genevant Sciences sued over the method for packaging up the mRNA and delivering it to the body. Another biotechnology company, Alnylam, is suing both Pfizer / BioNTech and Moderna over a similar technology.
The mRNA technology used in the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech shots differs from that in traditional vaccines, which rely on injecting weakened or dead forms of a virus to allow the immune system to recognize it and build antibodies.
Instead, mRNA vaccines deliver instructions to cells to build a harmless piece of the spike protein found on the surface of the virus that causes Covid-19. After creating this spike protein, cells can recognize and fight the real virus.