Moderna has said it will be suing Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech for patent infringement for the first Covid-19 vaccine.
The US firm claims that the mRNA technology it developed before the pandemic was copied by the companies.
The lawsuit has been filed in Germany and Massachusetts in the US.
“Moderna believes that Pfizer and BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine Comirnaty infringes patents Moderna filed between 2010 and 2016 covering Moderna’s foundational mRNA technology,” the company said ina. news release.
“This groundbreaking technology was critical to the development of Moderna’s own mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, Spikevax. Pfizer and BioNTech copied this technology, without Moderna’s permission, to make Comirnaty.”
Moderna and Pfizer’s vaccines have been crucial to the global rollout of vaccines, with Pfizer making up the majority of administered doses in the US.
Both vaccines are used in the UK, as well as AstraZeneca. As of March 2022, more than 52m people had had their first vaccine dose. More than 49m – or 85 per cent of over-12s – had both doses.
Pfizer said in a statement this afternoon: “Pfizer/BioNTech has not yet fully reviewed the complaint but we are surprised by the litigation given the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine was based on BioNTech’s proprietary mRNA technology and developed by both BioNTech and Pfizer.
We remain confident in our intellectual property supporting the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine and will vigorously defend against the allegations of the lawsuit.”