Pfizer has dismissed Moderna’s declare it copied the Covid vaccine and accused the rival of rewriting historical past
Pfizer has denied allegations by the rival Modern that its Covid-19 vaccine is a copy, and accuses the Boston-based biotech of rewriting history to claim technology developed by a field of scientists over many years.
Pfizer filed Monday in a Massachusetts federal court to dismiss Moderna’s claim for damages alleging patent infringement related to the Boston-based company’s Covid vaccine. Pfizer asked the court to prevent Moderna from re-suing it or its partners over three alleged patent infringements.
Moderna, in a complaint filed in August, accused Pfizer of copying two key technologies that make the messenger RNA Covid vaccines possible.
Moderna accused Pfizer of using the same modification to mRNA that keeps the molecule stable long enough to program human cells to produce the crucial spike protein that ignites an immune response against Covid.
Moderna also accused Pfizer of using the same full-length spike protein in its Covid shots. Moderna says it showed that a full spike elicited an immune response in 2015 when it was developing an mRNA vaccine for Middle East Respiratory Syndrome. This vaccine never came to market.
“The Moderna inventions that Pfizer and BioNTech sought to copy were the basis for the success of their vaccine,” the company claimed.
Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech vehemently denied those allegations, saying the technological building blocks for the vaccines were developed by a field of researchers before the pandemic began. They accused Moderna of trying to “take the spotlight on her own.”
“Moderna is wrong, and its revisionist history is not based on fact. Pfizer and BioNTech did not copy Moderna’s technology,” Pfizer said in its response. “Instead, Pfizer and BioNTech developed their vaccine independently, leveraging innovation from their respective scientists and drawing on decades of research conducted by others before the onset of the pandemic.”
According to Pfizer, the mRNA modification was developed by University of Pennsylvania researchers, one of whom is now an executive at BioNTech. It rejected Moderna’s claim to possess full-length Spike Protein technology. Pfizer said scientists had been concerned about coronaviruses since the 2003 SARS outbreak, and by 2009 scientists understood the full-length spike triggered a powerful immune response.
Pfizer and Moderna have raked in tens of billions of dollars in revenue from the Covid vaccines since vaccines were first approved in December 2020, and have reaped windfall profits.
Moderna is asking the court to award it monetary damages, including royalties and lost profits with interest, since March 2022. The company is also demanding increased damages of up to three times the damages determined.