On Friday, Moderna filed a complaint against Pfizer and its German partner, BioNTech, alleging that the pharmaceutical firms stole its technology to create a COVID-19 vaccine.
Moderna developed the technology earlier than the pandemic.
The case was brought to the U.S. District Court and requested undetermined damages for the alleged patent violation in Massachusetts and Germany.
It also prepares the ground for a significant legal battle between Massachusetts-based Moderna and Pfizer, the world’s largest pharmaceutical firm.
“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.
“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,” Bancel added.
The coronavirus vaccine Comirnaty from Pfizer/BioNTech received an emergency use authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in December 2020, while Spikevax from Moderna received one the following week.
Sales of shots have generated tens of billions of dollars for each firm.
MRNA technology is used in Moderna and Pfizer’s two-shot vaccines to aid patients in combating coronavirus.
They operate by injecting the spike protein’s genetic coding, which gives the coronavirus its angular structure.
Human cells are taught how to create secure spike proteins by this code, or the mRNA encased in a little ball of fat. These proteins train the immune system to identify the actual virus.
The lawsuit claims that Pfizer and BioNTech plagiarized two essential aspects of Moderna’s patented methods, which are necessary for developing mRNA vaccines.
“When COVID-19 emerged, neither Pfizer nor BioNTech had Moderna’s level of experience with developing mRNA vaccines for infectious diseases, and they knowingly followed Moderna’s lead in developing their vaccine,” Moderna sain a statement.
A Pfizer spokesman said the company had not yet received a copy of the lawsuit when asked for comment on Friday.