Moderna is suing Pfizer and BioNTech for patent infringement in the development of the first U.S. Covid-19 vaccine approved, the company announced Friday.
The Cambridge, Massachusetts firm claims partners Pfizer and BioNTech, without permission, copied mRNA technology that Moderna had patented between 2010 and 2016, well before Covid-19 emerged late 2019.
“We are filing these lawsuits to protect the innovative mRNA technology platform that we pioneered, invested billions of dollars in creating, and patented during the decade preceding the Covid-19 pandemic,” Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel said in the statement.
Moderna had been an innovator in the messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccine technology, which shortens approval processes to months, instead of the years it took to be completed.
The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in Massachusetts and the Regional Court of Dusseldorf in Germany.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted emergency use authorization for the vaccine to both Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna in consecutive weeks in December 2020.
New York based Pfizer and Mainz, Germany based BioNTech are already facing multiple lawsuits from other companies who say the partnership’s vaccine infringes on their patents.
Moderna has also been sued for patent infringement in the U.S. and has an ongoing dispute with the U.S. National Institutes of Health over rights to mRNA technology.