Arbutus and Genevant filed a lawsuit in February accusing Moderna of stealing the former’s patented lipid nanoparticle technology for its Covid-19 vaccine. On Friday, Moderna raised its hand, saying the plaintiffs were suing the wrong party in the wrong court.
Moderna filed for a dismissal on Friday, arguing that Arbutus and Genevant really should sue the federal government because the vaccine was supplied to the federal government through a contract as part of the emergency response efforts of the country.
“Under federal law, claims against vendors under contract with the U.S. government must be brought against the government in the U.S. Federal Claims Court. This law provides significant legal protection to authorized government vendors and has played a critical role in encouraging companies, including Moderna, to step up and help the government fight the COVID-19 pandemic,” the company said in a statement. communicated.
Whether Moderna’s motion to dismiss will hold up remains to be seen — but even if the plaintiffs decide to file a new case, the Cambridge, Mass.-based biotech argues they don’t have a case.
“The claims made by Genevant and Arbutus are unfounded because Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine does not infringe any valid patents,” the company said.
Arbutus disagrees and has promised to continue his fight in court.
“We do not believe Moderna’s motion has merit and will oppose it,” a spokesperson said in an email to Terminal news.
In their initial complaint, Arbutus and Genevant acknowledged that Moderna brought its life-saving vaccine “from lab bench to arms in record speed.” However, the companies argued that the achievement would not have been possible without the use of Arbutus’ LNP delivery platform, which “took Arbutus scientists years of painstaking work to develop and refine “.
The companies alleged that Moderna was aware of Arbutus’ patents and licensed them for other programs, but chose not to do so for its Covid-19 vaccine.
LNPs are microscopic particles constructed from fat-like molecules that are stable enough to protect mRNA and deliver it into cells.
“Plaintiffs are not seeking injunctive relief or relief in this matter that would prevent the sale or manufacture of Moderna’s lifesaving vaccine,” the complaint states. “They seek only fair compensation for the use of patented technology they developed with great effort and great expense, without which Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine would not have succeeded.”