Alnylam Pharmaceuticals on Thursday, March 17, filed lawsuits in Delaware federal court against Pfizer and Moderna, claiming their multibillion-dollar mRNA COVID-19 vaccines infringe one of its patents.
Alnylam said it was seeking damages over the use of lipid nanoparticle (LNP) technology used in the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines to carry and deliver genetic material into the body.
Representatives for Pfizer and Moderna did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the lawsuits.
Shares of Moderna, whose lone commercial product is its COVID-19 vaccine, were off about 4%. Pfizer shares were up 1.7% and Alnylam was up 2%.
Alnylam’s lawsuit against Moderna says it discussed licensing its technology to the company in late 2013 or 2014, and shared confidential information about it with Moderna at the time.
The lawsuit against Pfizer said Alnylam’s LNP technology is also “essential” to the effectiveness and safety of Pfizer’s vaccine.
Arbutus Biopharma Corporation separately sued Moderna in Delaware federal court last month, claiming Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine infringes its patents, which also relate to RNA-delivery technology.
The US National Institutes of Health has also implied it may sue Moderna over a vaccine-related patent application that NIH says should have listed its scientists as co-inventors.
Alnylam asked the court for an undisclosed amount of money damages from Pfizer and Moderna. It said in a statement it does not intend to take action that impedes the production, sale, or distribution of the vaccines.
Moderna has said its vaccine earned the company $17.7 billion in revenue in 2021. Pfizer said last month that it expected $32 billion in revenue from its vaccine this year. – Rappler.com