Arbutus Sues Moderna Alleging Patent Infringement Over COVID-19 Vaccine

Arbutus Biopharma Corporation, a publicly-traded Canada-based biopharmaceutical company, has recently filed a lawsuit against Moderna Inc., an American biotechnology and pharmaceutical company, alleging Patent Infringement. Arbutus is now seeking damages for infringement upon its US patents related to Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine.

In early trading, shares of Arbutus rose 11% while those of Moderna fell 2.5% after the lawsuit on which a federal appeals court rejected Moderna’s challenge to Arbutus’ patents last year in December.

Arbutus’ recent statement says that it developed the so-called Lipid Nanoparticles (LNP) enclosing the genetic materials called the messenger RNA or mRNA – the patents concerning which were licensed to Genevant Sciences Corporation, a joint venture between Arbutus and Roivant Sciences Ltd.

A Moderna spokesperson denied these allegations in a recent emailed statement delivered and said that Moderna shall vigorously defend itself in Court against Genevant’s claims.

The sales of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine that is based on mRNA technology and has been cleared for use in over 70 countries worldwide have been on the rise. Last year, the vaccine collected $17.7 billion in sales and is expected to bring in up to $19 billion this year.

Roivant and Genevant have stated that they did not seek to interfere with the distribution or sale of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine, but the litigation now could take at least two years.

Jefferies analyst Dennis Ding has stated that the patent infringement lawsuit in question could take lesser time than two years to resolve only if the parties involved reach a settlement agreement. Ding expects the companies involved to fight out the matter in court, which could take a couple of years. However, he also believes that a positive outcome in the form of a licensing agreement or royalty could come into action.

As far as Moderna is concerned, it is also involved in a months-long patent dispute with the United States National Institutes of Health (NIH) over its COVID-19 vaccine.

In December last year, Moderna said that it had decided not to pursue its US Patent Application for the vaccine at the moment to have more time in place for discussions with the NIH. For more visit:

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