A federal appeals court on Wednesday ruled against Moderna in two patent appeals for its COVID-19 vaccine, putting the drug company at risk of litigation.
The US Court of Appeals strengthened the Administrative Committee’s finding that the patents for Canadian biopharmaceutical company Arbutus Biopharma Corporation are justified because the science used was previously unknown, Reuters mentioned.
However, the patents may include that technology Moderna used in its COVID-19 vaccine, according to Reuters.
Moderna, in an earlier court filing, indicated that it believed Arbutus would be justified in filing a lawsuit against the company and requesting royalties from its COVID-19 vaccine if the patents were confirmed.
However, a Moderna spokesperson told The Hill in a statement that the company disagrees with the court’s decision and believes its vaccine does not fall under the Arbutus patent.
“While we disagree with the rest of the decisions that maintain certain other claims or do not consider their validity due to a procedural issue, we are confident that the COVID-19 Moderna vaccine is not covered by those claims,” the spokesperson said.
“Moderna is a leader in mRNA-based vaccines, and we have developed our own LNP delivery technology. “This technology allows us to carry out our mission of creating a new generation of transformative medicines for patients,” the spokesperson added.
The patents under scrutiny relate to lipid nanoparticles circulating around messenger RNA, the genetic material, in the vaccine, according to Reuters. This technology could be useful in developing vaccines to help prevent other diseases in the future.
Moderna initially filed an anti-patent appeal with the US Patent Appeals and Trial Board, a division of the Federal Patent Office, according to Reuters. The board partially sided with Arbutus but said it agreed that some parts of the patent were unjustified.
Reuters noted that Genevant Sciences Inc. Patent holder. Arbutus and Roivant Sciences Ltd. Founding the company in 2018.
Moderna is also involved in a separate patent matter related to its COVID-19 vaccine with the National Institutes of Health (NIH), according to Reuters.
Hill reached out to Arbutus for comment.
The National Institutes of Health said that three agency scientists who helped create the genetic sequence used in Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine should be included in the patent application, which the company is said to have contested.
Moderna said the sequences were designed only by its own people, and no one else, according to Reuters.