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Moderna COVID-19 vaccine patent dispute headed to court


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO : A Northwell Health employee shows the Moderna COVID-19 shot at Northwell Health’s Long Island Jewish Valley Stream Hospital in New York. This was December 21, 2020. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz

By Julie Steenhuysen

CHICAGO (Reuters). Scientists at the U.S. National Institutes of Health were “a key role” in the creation of CHICAGO Moderna (NASDAQ:) Inc’s COVID-19 shot vaccine was approved by the FDA. The agency will defend its claims as co-owners of the patents, Dr. Francis Collins from the NIH told Reuters Wednesday.

Moderna exempted three NIH scientists from being co-inventors of a key patent that covers the multibillion dollar COVID-19 vaccine. This was reported in a New York Times story on Tuesday.

Collins spoke in an interview before the Reuters Total Health conference. The event will be held virtually between Nov. 15-18.

Moderna anticipates that 2021 will see sales between $15 billion and $18 billion of the COVID-19 vaccine, its only and first commercial product. Next year it expects to sell up to $22 Billion.

Collins claimed that Moderna has tried for some time to solve the patent dispute between them, but has not succeeded.

We are far from done. He said that this was something legal authorities will have to work out.

NIH claims that Dr. John Mascola and Dr. Barney Graham (NYSE.:) were involved in the design of the vaccine Moderna. They should also be mentioned on any patent applications. Graham is no longer with us and Corbett works at Harvard.

Collins said to Reuters, “It isn’t a good idea for a patent to be filed when you leave out significant inventors. So this will get sorted as people examine this more closely.”

“I didn’t anticipate that this would be the result of what had been a very collaborative effort between scientists from Moderna and NIH over many years.”

Moderna has not yet responded to my request for comment.

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