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Big fight between Moderna and NIH: Who invented COVID-19 vaccine?
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Big fight between Moderna and NIH: Who invented COVID-19 vaccine? Unusual! Who invented the COVID-19 vaccine? Moderna had a big fight with her old partner NIH.
Recently, the American star biotech company Moderna not only faced a stock price crash, but also fell out with its “old partner” the National Institutes of Health (NIH) .
The two sides are fighting hard to win a key patent dispute.
01. Moderna and NIH: From cooperation to division
Before the COVID-19 epidemic, M oderna with the US NIH collaboration for four years, to explore the clinical application of mRNA technology . After the outbreak occurs, the two sides first to start a COVID-19 mRNA vaccine research and development, and ultimately let Moderna COVID-19 vaccine emergency obtain batches on the market .
Today the vaccine has become Moderna’s cash cow, bringing Moderna at least billions of dollars in revenue (it is estimated to bring in more than 20 billion dollars next year) . At the same time, the COVID-19 vaccine also raised Moderna’s stock price, making its market value once close to 200 billion US dollars.
In fact, the NIH of the United States actively promoted the clinical trials of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine and invested funds to carry out early clinical trials of mRNA vaccines. Today, Moderna denies the contribution of the three NIH scientists in designing the COVID-19 vaccine, which greatly reduces the key role that NIH played in the first place.
To this end, the two parties have been arguing with each other privately for more than a year, and have so far failed. A report in the “New York Times” disclosed their contradictions, and what made their dispute surfaced was a document written by Moderna to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in July this year.
In this document, Moderna filed a statement to the Patent Office on the core patent of the COVID-19 mRNA vaccine, acknowledging that the patent is related to three NIH scholars: John R. Mascola, Director of the Vaccine Research Center, and Dr. Barney S. Graham (retired) . And Kizzmekia S. Corbett (now a professor at Harvard University) co-applied, but Moderna denied that they were the co-inventors of Moderna’s COVID-19 mRNA vaccine and their important contribution to the discovery of key mRNA components.
02. Who invented the COVID-19 mRNA vaccine?
Obviously the focus of this debate is: Who invented the COVID-19 mRNA vaccine?
In fact, M oderna can fast speed to kill into the COVID-19 vaccine development ranks, and the NIH cooperation inseparable.
When the COVID-19 epidemic appeared in early 2020, Moderna started the research and development of the COVID-19 vaccine, which was suggested by the famous American scientist Fauci at that time.
At that time, the number of COVID-19 patients in the United States was zero, and now the number of confirmed cases is 47 million, and the death toll is as high as 750,000.
This shows how forward-looking this measure was at the time. No one thought that the United States would be deeply mired in the quagmire of the COVID-19 epidemic in the future.
There are many advantages to using mRNA technology to prepare a new coronavirus vaccine.
At that time, they only needed a computer with access to the Internet and knew the sequence of the key components of the virus to prepare a potentially effective mRNA vaccine.
This technology is not like a fire-fighting virus vaccine, which requires live virus to be prepared.
In fact, they did it at the beginning. Find the new coronavirus sequence through the computer, and then design the mRNA vaccine. Obviously, the determination of this sequence is very critical, because it determines whether the prepared mRNA vaccine can stimulate the human immune system to resist the new coronavirus, and how efficiently the vaccine produces neutralizing antibodies.
According to the New York Times, after the outbreak of the new coronavirus , scientists at Moderna and the NIH vaccine research and development center quickly focused on the gene sequence of the new coronavirus S protein.
According to NIH, they were the first to discover and send the sequence to Moderna’s scientific researchers in a document. According to Moderna, they also found the corresponding gene at the same time. The key information provided by NIH is of no value to them.
Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel said, “We dig data from the computer, and then start designing the mRNA sequence.”
“In fact, we are synchronized and parallel together, the reason for doing so is to increase the chance of winning.” Bancel said.
Therefore, NIH believes that the above three scientists have played an important role in the design of mRNA vaccine sequence. However, Modenra denied this, and believed that the three were not co-inventors, and that the inventors were all scientific researchers within the company.
From the previous Nature article on the development of new coronavirus mRNA vaccine patent maps, we can see that NIH and Moderna have jointly developed the new coronavirus vaccine and applied for a patent for the special sequence of the S protein. However, the actual situation behind it may be much more complicated.
03. Both sides hold their own opinions and may resort to law in the future
In response, Kathy Stover , a spokesperson for the Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, a subsidiary of NIH, said, “Moderna’s removal of NIH from the main patent applicant will deprive NIH of the rights and interests obtained from the patent. “.
Moderna spokesperson Colleen Hussey (Colleen Hussey) said that the company “has always recognized the important role that NIH plays in the development of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine.” At the same time, she said that, legally, the company is obliged to exclude the institution from the core application because “only Moderna scientists have designed the vaccine.”
In this regard, Fauci, a well-known American infectious disease scientist, has his own opinion. He is also the first expert to promote the development of the COVID-19 mRNA vaccine. He said, “The COVID-19 mRNA vaccine is actually the NIH Vaccine Research Center’s Dr. Barney Graham and his colleague Kizzmekia. Developed by a team of scientists led by Dr. Corbett.”
In the future, this dispute is likely to evolve into a lawsuit.
However, NIH said that this is not just for its own benefit. It hopes to be a co-inventor of the vaccine so that it can be licensed to other countries at a lower price, instead of pursuing only commercial profits like Moderna .
Behind the patent dispute of the COVID-19 vaccine involves huge economic benefits and social value. In the second quarter of this year alone, Moderna earned US$4.297 billion in revenue from the COVID-19 vaccine, and this vaccine will bring Moderna tens of billions of dollars in the future. income.
Some analysts said the estimated 2022 -year vaccine will crown for the Moderna belt to 170 US $ 22 billion revenue gain.
Big fight between Moderna and NIH: Who invented COVID-19 vaccine?
(source:internet, reference only)