Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine Patent Litigation Headed to Court, US NIH Chief Says – Community News
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Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine Patent Litigation Headed to Court, US NIH Chief Says

CHICAGO, Nov. 10 (Reuters) – Scientists at the US National Institutes of Health played “a key role” in the development of Moderna Inc’s (MRNA.O) COVID-19 vaccine, and the agency plans to extend its claim as co-owner of patents on the spot, NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins told Reuters on Wednesday.

In a story first reported by the New York Times on Tuesday, Moderna excluded three NIH scientists as co-inventors of a central patent for the company’s COVID-19 vaccine that cost billions of dollars in its filing filed in May. was submitted in July.

“I think Moderna has made a serious mistake here by not providing the kind of co-inventor credit to people who played an important role in developing the vaccine that they are now making a decent amount of money from,” Collins said. in an interview ahead of the Reuters Total Health conference, which will take place virtually Nov. 15-18. [https://reutersevents.com/events/healthcare/]

Moderna expects $15 billion to $18 billion in sales from its COVID-19 vaccine — its first and only commercial product — by 2021 and up to $22 billion next year.

In an emailed statement to Reuters, Moderna acknowledged that scientists from the NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) played a “substantial role” in the development of Moderna’s messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccine, but the company said that disagreed with the agency’s patent claims. .

Collins said the NIH has been trying to resolve the patent dispute with Moderna amicably for some time and has failed.

An employee displays the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at Northwell Health’s Long Island Jewish Valley Stream Hospital in New York, US, Dec. 21, 2020. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz

“But we’re not done yet. Obviously, this is something that legal authorities will have to figure out,” he said.

NIH has claimed that three of its scientists – Dr. John Mascola, Dr. Barney Graham and Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett – helped design the genetic sequence used in Moderna’s vaccine and that it should be listed on the patent application. Graham has since retired and Corbett now works at Harvard.

“It’s not a good idea to apply for a patent if you’re disregarding major inventors, and so this will be resolved if people look more closely at this,” Collins told Reuters.

“I didn’t expect this to be the result of years of collaboration between scientists from NIH and Moderna.”

In its statement, Moderna said, “We disagree that NIAID scientists invented the claims to the mRNA-1273 sequence themselves. Only Moderna’s scientists came up with the sequence for the mRNA used in our vaccine. “

Moderna said the company has recognized NIH scientists in other patent applications, such as those related to dosing. But for the core patent, Moderna is only required to list Moderna scientists as inventors of the array under the strict rules of US patent law, it said.

“We are grateful for our collaboration with NIH scientists, appreciate their contributions and remain focused on working together to help patients,” the company added.

Reporting by Julie Steenhuysen Editing by Bill Berkrot

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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