Moderna faces patent suit over COVID-19 vaccine

Two biotechnology companies filed a lawsuit against Moderna Feb. 28, claiming the drugmaker used patented technology to create its COVID-19 vaccine, The Washington Post reported.

In the suit, Arbutus Biopharma and Genevant Sciences claim Moderna infringed on their patent for lipid nanoparticle technology. They allege the technology, which took them years to develop and refine, was crucial for the creation of Moderna's COVID-19 shot.

The suit comes about three months after Moderna lost a federal appeal over the patent dispute in December. 

"Moderna is a pioneer of mRNA-based vaccines, and we have developed our own proprietary [lipid nanoparticle]-delivery technology," a spokesperson told Becker's in response to the appeal court's decision. 

If the lawsuit proceeds, Arbutus and Genevant may be eligible for royalties from Moderna's vaccine. Moderna said it expects vaccine sales to surpass $19 billion in 2022, according to the Post.

Moderna is also facing a separate dispute with the National Institutes of Health regarding whether federal scientists should have been listed as co-inventors of Moderna's COVID-19 shot in a patent application.

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