May 23, 2024

Vaccine wars: Pfizer countersues rival Moderna after being accused of stealing its mRNA technology to create Covid vaccine — amid multi-billion-dollar legal battle

Moderna accuses Pfizer of stealing its mRNA technology

The ongoing legal battle, costing $104 billion, now sees New York-based Pfizer and its partner BioNTech reject their rival Moderna’s claims it copied the Covid vaccine from them.

  • Moderna is suing its two major competitors in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, Pfizer and BioNTech
  • The firm alleges that the other two companies copied its technology that it developed and patented between 2010 and 2016 
  • Pfizer tells that its mRNA COVID-19 vaccine is based off of technology owned by its partner in the rollout, BioNTech
  • The pair of competing firms will have earned over $100 billion in revenue from sales of the shots by the end of 2022 
  • Moderna had initially planned not to enforce patents related to the shots – but reversed course in March 
  • Pfizer earned a combined $68 billion between 2021 and 2022 on sales of its COVID-19 vaccine alone 

Pfizer has countersued Moderna after being accused of stealing mRNA technology to create the Covid vaccine. The ongoing legal battle now sees Pfizer and its partner BioNTech reject its rival’s claims it copied the shot.

Pfizer has accused Moderna of rewriting history, and dubbed its lawsuit ‘revisionist history’. Manhattan-based Pfizer requested from a federal court in Boston that Moderna’s lawsuit be dismissed.

Pfizer and its German partner, BioNTech, fired back at Moderna on Monday in a patent lawsuit over their rival Covid-19 vaccines. They are seeking dismissal of the lawsuit in Boston federal court and an order that Moderna’s patents are invalid and not infringed.

Moderna first sued Pfizer in August, when it accused the company of violating its rights in three patents related to innovations that Moderna said it pioneered before the Covid-19 pandemic. Moderna has also filed a related lawsuit against Pfizer and BioNTech in Germany. All three companies are also embroiled in US patent disputes with other companies over the vaccines.

A Pfizer spokesperson said the company and BioNTech are confident in their intellectual property and will ‘vigorously defend’ against Moderna’s claims.

In its lawsuit, Moderna asked for an undisclosed amount of money damages from Pfizer Covid-19 vaccines sold since March.

Pfizer’s vaccine made over $26.4 billion for the New York-based company in the first nine months of 2022, according to company filings with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

Meanwhile, Moderna sold over $13.5 billion worth of its vaccine over the same period.

Pfizer and BioNTech said in their Monday filing that they developed their vaccine independently, calling Moderna’s lawsuit ‘revisionist history’ and arguing its patents ‘far exceed its actual contributions to the field’. The companies argued that Moderna ignored the contributions of their scientists to foundational mRNA technology, as well as those of researchers at the US government’s National Institutes of Health.

Moderna also waived its right to bring the lawsuit when it pledged not to sue other Covid-19 vaccine makers during the pandemic, the filing said, arguing the pandemic has not yet ended.

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