A legal spat has broken out between the creators of the Covid-19 vaccination as Moderna has opened a lawsuit against rival jab-producers, Pfizer and BioNTech for copyright infringement after the company say its technology was stolen.
Moderna has opened a $104 billion court case against Pfizer and BioNTech for allegedly using its copyrighted mRNA technology to produce and sell their own versions of the jabs which were distributed worldwide.
The Massachusetts-based pharmaceuticals giant claimed that it patented the technology used in the vaccinations between 2010 and 2016, some four years before the pandemic struck.
Moderna is suing both Pfizer and BioNTech for using the technology but is not seeking to have their vaccines removed.
While the British-based company Astra-Zeneca also produced a Covid vaccine, which was the first ever jab administered in the world, Moderna has not included the Oxford/Astra-Zeneca jab in its lawsuit.
This is perhaps because the Astra-Zeneca version of the vaccine behaves in a different way in the blood to the other versions by delivering the Covid spike protein in cell nuclei rather than just the cell membrane, as is the case with the other three versions.
Scientists now think this is why the AZ jab is more prone to causing rare blood clots.
Pfizer told the MailOnline that its company executives are “surprised” by the sudden lawsuit initiated by Moderna, particularly as it states it took its jab technology from research conducted by BioNTech.
Pfizer and BioNTech are estimated to have racked up around $104 billion in sales of their jabs between them by the end of this year.
Both the jabs are currently being administered in around 158 countries around the world and sales are set to increase with the roll-out of the Omicron booster in time for the winter.
By comparison, Moderna is estimated to have made around $37 billion from its jab between 2021 and 2022.
While Moderna initially vowed that it would not put any patents on its vaccine technology to allow poorer nations the chance to develop their own version of the jab, it changed its mind in March 2020 and copyrighted its research.
It’s now got to the point where big pharma executives aren’t even pretending it isn’t all about the money to them!
“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,” said Moderna’s CEO Stephane Bancel.
“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.”
In response to the statement, Pfizer said:
“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.”