Facing claims that its COVID-19 vaccine violates the patent rights of two biopharma companies, Moderna Inc told a Delaware federal court on Friday that the companies should have sued the U.S. government instead.
Moderna said it is shielded from the lawsuit brought by Arbutus Biopharma Corp and Genevant Sciences GmbH, thanks to its agreement to supply the vaccine to the federal government. It cited a federal law that was previously used to keep patent claims from interfering with the supply of war materials during World War I.
“Short of war, it is difficult to conceive of a situation more within the heart” of the statute “than the COVID-19 crisis,” Moderna said in a filing asking the court to dismiss the lawsuit.
It said its vaccine did not infringe the companies’ patents, “but that dispute is for later.”
A spokesperson for Genevant said Monday that Moderna was “trying to shift responsibility for its patent infringement to the U.S. taxpayer” instead of responding to the claims.