Pfizer, BioNTech and Regeneron hit by patent lawsuits over COVID-19 drugs and vaccines
Three big names in the fight against the coronavirus and the COVID-19 disease that can result from it have been sued for patent infringement. The trio includes Regeneron Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: REGN), Pfizer (NYSE: PFE), and BioNTech (NASDAQ: BNTX). The applicant is a private company Allele Biotechnology and Pharmaceuticals.
Allele alleges that the three all used her fluorescent protein mNeonGreen to develop their COVID-19 products without paying royalties for the substance. Medical researchers inject fluorescent proteins into cells to track reactions within those bodies. This tracking is used to help determine the effect of drugs and vaccines on the body.
Regeneron is currently developing REGN-COV2, an experimental cocktail of two antibodies to treat COVID-19. The company became a hot topic last week when it came to light President Donald Trump was administered REGN-COV2 as part of his treatment for COVID-19.
Pfizer and BioNTech have teamed up to develop a vaccine against the coronavirus; their candidate, BNT162b2, is considered one of the pioneers in the race to bring a vaccine to market.
mNeonGreen would have been used in both programs. Allele said in her lawsuit, filed in federal court in California, that “it is only through the use of mNeonGreen” that companies have been able to develop their products at relative speed.
This, in turn, allowed them to be awarded “immediately $ 400 million in grants and over $ 4 billion in vaccine sales to date”, although BNT162b2 has, like other applicants, not yet approved for use by a major drug regulatory body. Allele is looking to recoup the royalties for his product, although it is not immediately clear how much he is asking.
Regeneron said he disagreed with Allele’s complaint and would “vigorously defend” his position in court. Neither Pfizer nor BioNTech have formally reacted to the lawsuit.
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