Mikele Bicolli
May 21, 2024

Moderna Scores a Victory in the Covid-19 Vaccine Patent Dispute with Pfizer and BioNTech

Moderna recently registered a significant triumph in its ongoing patent dispute concerning its Covid-19 vaccine against Pfizer and BioNTech. The European Patent Office (EPO) upheld the legitimacy of a key Moderna patent in an oral verdict, boosting the company's stance in its legal battle.

The validated patent, known as the '949 patent, focuses on how mRNA is adjusted in the body to diminish the immune system's reaction when introduced as a vaccine. This concept could also be deployed in future mRNA-based treatments. The EPO confirmed that Moderna’s 949 patent "was maintained in amended form".

This development is a significant stride for Moderna, which is pursuing Pfizer and BioNTech in various European and US courts for a share of their profits generated from the Covid-19 vaccines. Moderna had previously claimed that the Comirnaty vaccine, developed by Pfizer and BioNTech, infringed two of its patents. Pfizer and BioNTech had retaliated by alleging that the Moderna patents, filed in 2011 and 2016, were invalid.

BioNTech indicated that the EPO decision doesn't modify their firm and unequivocal stand that this patent is invalid, and vowed that it would "continue to vigorously defend our innovations against all allegations of patent infringement including this case". Pfizer also echoed this sentiment and is contemplating an appeal. 

Apart from this, Moderna is also appealing a lost validity challenge in the EPO over an alternative patent, labeled as 565, which covers the use of mRNA technology specifically targeted at preventing coronavirus and other respiratory diseases.

The EPO's decision in favor of Moderna's patent validity has stirred ripples that may likely influence the proceedings in several European national courts, including those in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, and Ireland.