Moderna has filed a lawsuit against Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech for allegedly copying their COVID-19 vaccine.
On Friday, Moderna issued a news release accusing Pfizer of infringing several of its patents "central to (its) mRNA technology platform" that were filed between 2010 and 2016.
"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," said Moderna Chief Executive Officer Stéphane Bancel in a statement. "This foundational platform, which we began building in 2010, along with our patented work on coronaviruses in 2015 and 2016, enabled us to produce a safe and highly effective COVID-19 vaccine in record time after the pandemic struck."
Pfizer told the Washington Post on Friday that they had not received a copy of the lawsuit, so they could not speak on the matter.
"We believe that Pfizer and BioNTech unlawfully copied Moderna's inventions, and they have continued to use them without permission," said Moderna Chief Legal Officer Shannon Thyme Klinger in a news release.
BioNTech was sued last month by the German company CureVac for patent infringement, the Post reported.
In response to that lawsuit, BioNTech released a statement saying that its “work is original, and we will vigorously defend it against all allegations of patent infringement.”
On Friday, Moderna said they are not seeking financial damages related to Pfizer sales of the vaccine to 92 low-income countries. They said they are only seeking damages from Pfizer and BioNTech for sales occurring after March 8.
According to health data analytics firm Airfinity, Pfizer, BioNTech and Moderna are forecasted to generate $52 billion in vaccine sales this year, Financial Times reported.