$MRNA: Lawsuit by 2 Biotechs Claiming IP Theft


Moderna faces yet another patent challenge over its coronavirus vaccine after Arbutus Biopharma and Genevant Sciences, both small biotechnology companies, filed a lawsuit on Monday alleging Moderna hijacked its technology to develop the multibillion-dollar vaccine.

Arbutus and Genevant said in their lawsuit that Moderna infringed on their patent for what is called lipid nanoparticle technology, which they say was key in the development of Moderna’s mRNA vaccine and took scientists from Arbutus and Genevant “years of painstaking work to develop and refine.” The suit had been expected after Moderna lost a U.S. Court of Appeals ruling last year in the protracted patent battle.

Moderna, a 10-year-old Cambridge, Mass.-based biotechnology firm that had not marketed any product before the pandemic, has said it expects coronavirus vaccine sales to top $19 billion in 2022. Arbutus and Genevant — a company spearheaded by former Arbutus scientists — could demand some of that as royalties if their challenge succeeds.

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