The LNP technology used in Pfizer and Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccines has been the subject of patent litigation from a number of biotech firms this year. Now, lawsuits claim that COVID-19 vaccines infringe upon new Alnylam patent.
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On Tuesday, Alnylam Pharmaceuticals Inc. increased the stakes in its patent battle with Pfizer Inc. and Moderna Inc. over the COVID-19 vaccines by charging them in federal court in Delaware of violating a recently acquired patent.
The lawsuits (read below) claimed that the messenger-RNA delivery mechanisms used by the vaccinations infringe upon an Alnylam patent on the use of lipid nanoparticles (LNPs) to transport genetic material into human cells. The patent was granted by the USPTO the same day Alnylam filed the complaint.
The LNP technology used in Pfizer and Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccines has been the subject of patent litigation from a number of biotech firms this year.
Cambridge, Massachusetts-based In March, Alnylam filed a lawsuit against Pfizer and Moderna for allegedly infringing on an LNP patent. Alnylam has stated in all of the lawsuits that their technology is “essential” to the vaccinations.
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In response, Pfizer stated that Alnylam is aware that the vaccine falls “outside the scope of what Alnylam actually invented.” which was a denial of those claims in May. Since it supplied the shots for the U.S. government’s mandatory national vaccination program, Moderna argued to the court that it was exempt from Alnylam’s allegations.
In legal actions filed on Tuesday, Alnylam claimed that Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Moderna and New York-based Pfizer had violated a patent that protected a certain type of LNPs and a process for making them.
Like Alnylam’s prior cases, the new lawsuits demand an unspecified portion of vaccine sales. Pfizer has stated that it anticipates $32 billion in sales from its vaccine this year, whereas Moderna predicted $21 billion.
Alnylam Pharmaceuticals Inc. v. Pfizer Inc. and Alnylam Pharmaceuticals Inc. v. Moderna Inc. are the corresponding cases, which are being heard in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware under the case numbers 1:22-cv-00924 and 1:22-cv-00925.
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