Moderna sues Pfizer over Covid vaccine technology

Moderna is suing Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech (Picture: PA)

Moderna is suing Pfizer – and its German partner BioNTech – after accusing its competitor of copying Moderna’s technology to make its own vaccines.

Pfizer and BioNTech’s vaccine, Comirnaty, infringes on patents Moderna filed several years ago protecting the technology behind its jab, Spikevax, according to Moderna.

The company has filed patent infringement lawsuits in both US federal court and a German court.

A company spokesperson for Pfizer declined to comment, saying the company has not been served with a copy of the litigation.

Moderna said Pfizer/BioNTech copied two types of its intellectual property. One involved an mRNA structure that Moderna says its scientists began developing in 2010 and were the first to validate in human trials in 2015.

The second alleged infringement involves the coding of the spike protein on the outside of the virus itself.

‘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 chief executive Stephane Bancel said in a statement.

Moderna and Pfizer’s two-dose vaccines both use mRNA technology to help patients fight coronavirus.

The mRNA vaccines work by injecting a genetic code for the spike protein which coats the surface of the coronavirus.

The mRNA is encased in a little ball of fat, and instructs the body’s cells to make harmless spike copies which train the immune system to recognise the real virus.

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