Moderna sues Pfizer over patents behind COVID-19 vaccine

COVID-19 vaccine maker Moderna is suing Pfizer and German drugmaker BioNTech, accusing its main competitors of copying Moderna’s technology to produce their own vaccines.

Moderna said Friday that Pfizer and BioNTech’s Comirnaty vaccine infringes a patent that Moderna filed several years ago to protect the technology behind its preventative shot, Spikevax. The company has filed patent infringement lawsuits in both the US federal courts and the German courts.

A Pfizer spokesman declined to comment, saying the company has not been served a copy of the lawsuit.

Both Moderna and Pfizer’s vaccines use mRNA technology to help patients fight the coronavirus.

The mRNA vaccine works by injecting the genetic code for the mutant protein that coats the surface of the coronavirus. That code, the mRNA, is encased in a small ball of fat, and instructs the body’s cells to make several harmless mutated copies to train the immune system to recognize the real virus.

Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel said in a prepared statement that the vaccine developer pioneered that technology and invested billions of dollars to create it.

The company said it believes the competitor’s vaccine infringes on a patent Moderna filed between 2010 and 2016.

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