Promosome, a San Diego- and New York-based biotech has filed a major patent infringement suit against pharma juggernauts Moderna, Pfizer and BioNTech over mRNA-based technology used for COVID-19 vaccines.
According to the lawsuits filed in the Southern District of California, Promosome is alleging that the mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccines violate patented technology that was owned by Promosome and developed over ten years ago. The technology at issue — created by a team at The Scripps Research Institute — is a novel method of modifying mRNA to increase protein expression, which, according to Promosome, makes mRNA vaccines safer and more efficient.
The patent in question (8,853,179) is titled "Reengineering mRNA Primary Structure for Enhanced Protein Production.”
The first lawsuit claims that Moderna utilized Promosome's method without licensing its patent, resulting in the incorporation of the patented technology into their Spikevax vaccine, which has generated over $35 billion in revenue.
Similarly, the second lawsuit alleges that Pfizer and BioNTech willfully infringed on the patent with their joint COVID-19 vaccine. According to Promosome, the company sharing its technology with BioNTech scientist Dr. Katalin Karikó in 2015, but neither BioNTech nor Pfizer pursued a license for Comirnaty, which has generated revenues exceeding $75 billion.