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Moderna Sues Pfizer For Allegedly Copying Its COVID Vaccine Technology

The two pharma companies are going head-to-head in a lawsuit over mRNA technology patents.


Tom Hale

Senior Journalist

clockAug 26 2022, 14:05 UTC
Silhouette of a hand holding a vaccine Infront of a yellow and red Moderna sign
Moderna is a US-based biotechnology company that's been a pioneer in the field of mRNA vaccines. Image credit: rafapress/

Moderna is suing Pfizer and BioNTech over alleged infringement of its mRNA vaccine technology patents used to make their COVID-19 vaccine, according to an announcement from Moderna today, Friday, August 26. 

It's alleging that Pfizer developed their mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, known as Comirnaty, using mRNA vaccine technology that was patented by Moderna before the pandemic 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," Stéphane Bancel, Chief Executive Officer of Moderna, 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,” the CEO added. 

Moderna claims it is not looking to remove the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine from the market, but is seeking money to cover its alleged losses. It says, however, that these monetary damages won’t be on sales to low- and middle-income countries, only high-income ones. 

"We believe that Pfizer and BioNTech unlawfully copied Moderna's inventions, and they have continued to use them without permission," added Shannon Thyme Klinger, Moderna's Chief Legal Officer.


"Outside of AMC 92 countries, where vaccine supply is no longer a barrier to access, Moderna expects Pfizer and BioNTech to compensate Moderna for Comirnaty®'s ongoing use of Moderna's patented technologies. Our mission to create a new generation of transformative medicines for patients by delivering on the promise of mRNA science cannot be achieved without a patent system that rewards and protects innovation." 

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