BioNTech to Moderna after the complaint: “We will vigorously defend ourselves”
BioNTech has defended that its Covid-19 vaccine developed with Pfizer is “original”, after Moderna’s lawsuit accusing the companies of “Copy” mRNA technology patent, on which both vaccines are based. “BioNTech’s work is original, and we will vigorously defend ourselves against all claims of patent infringement,” the German company said in a statement.
In this sense, BioNTech argues that “it values and respects the Intellectual Property Rights valid and enforceable rights of others and continue to trust their intellectual property”. “It is an unfortunate but quite common occurrence for other companies to claim that a successful product potentially infringes their intellectual property rights, even more so in this case after witnessing of the historical achievements of a vaccine like ours”, they emphasize.
In its lawsuit, filed before the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts and the Düsseldorf Regional Court in Germany, Moderna states that the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine “infringes” the patents that Moderna filed between 2010 and 2016 on its mRNA technology. “Is innovative technology was instrumental in the development of Moderna’s own mRNA COVID-19 vaccine. Pfizer and BioNTech copied this technology, without the permission of Modernato make their vaccine,” the company said in a statement Friday.
Moderna believes that Pfizer and BioNTech copied two key features of Moderna’s proprietary technologies that are critical to the success of mRNA vaccines. “When COVID-19 emerged, neither Pfizer nor BioNTech had the level of experience of Moderna in developing mRNA vaccines for infectious diseases, and knowingly followed Moderna’s path to develop their own vaccine,” Moderna explained.
First, Moderna argued that Pfizer and BioNTech “brought four different vaccine candidates into clinical trials, including options that would have moved away from Moderna’s innovative path.” “However, Pfizer and BioNTech ultimately decided to proceed with a vaccine that has the same chemical modification of mRNA than Moderna’s vaccine. Moderna scientists began developing this chemical modification that avoids triggering an undesirable immune response when mRNA is introduced into the body in 2010 and were the first to validate it in human trials in 2015,” they allege.
Second, Moderna charged that “despite having many different options,” Pfizer and BioNTech “copied Moderna’s approach to encode spike protein in a lipid nanoparticle formulation for a coronavirus.” “Scientists at Moderna developed this approach when they created a vaccine for the coronavirus that causes Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) years before the emergence of COVID-19” , they add.