Moderna pays NIH $400M in COVID-19 vaccine licensing fees

Moderna has paid the National Institutes of Health $400 million in licensing fees for a chemical technique developed by federal researchers that was used to create its COVID-19 vaccine, the company said in a Feb. 23 earnings report.

The agreement, finalized in December, marks the end of a three-year long patent dispute over the vaccine technique developed by scientists at Dartmouth University in Hanover, N.H., Scripps Research in San Diego and the NIH. The technique has played an integral role in the development of numerous COVID-19 vaccines, and at least seven other drugmakers have already paid for use of the technique before Moderna.

The payment represents a small win for federal and academic researchers who have long argued that they should share some of drugmakers' financial gains, according to The New York Times. Moderna has sold about $36 billion worth of COVID-19 vaccines globally. 

"It was always our intention to reach an agreement, and we were pleased to have done so," a spokesperson for Moderna told the Times

Moderna and NIH are still negotiating a separate dispute regarding who invented the genetic sequence used in the vaccine to help recipients produce an immune response. Federal scientists worked with Moderna in 2020 to help develop this spike protein technology that was key to the vaccine's success.


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