Arbutus Biopharma ABUS.O on Tuesday sued US drugmaker Pfizer Inc PFE.N and its German partner BioNTech SE BNTX.O in a New Jersey district court, claiming their mRNA COVID-19 vaccines infringe five of Arbutus’ patents.
Arbutus, along with its licensee Genevant Sciences, is seeking damages, including reasonable royalties, over the use of lipid nanoparticle (LNP) delivery technology in Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines to carry and deliver genetic material into the body.
Arbutus and Genevant’s lawsuit
The lawsuit by Arbutus and Genevant says Pfizer/BioNTech engaged in licensing discussions for the technology but they did not “result in a settlement.”
Genevant is a joint venture between Arbutus and Roivant Sciences Ltd ROIV.O.
Arbutus Biopharma had also sued Moderna Inc MRNA.O in the Delaware federal court last year, claiming the latter’s mRNA COVID-19 vaccine also infringes its patents.
In their lawsuit against Moderna, Arbutus had said they were not looking to block the drugmaker from producing or distributing the vaccines but were seeking money damages including a reasonable royalty.
Pfizer said it has not yet received the complaint.
“However, we remain confident in our intellectual property supporting the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine and will vigorously defend against the allegations of the lawsuit,” Pfizer said in an e-mailed statement to Reuters.
BioNTech did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment on the lawsuit. Genevant and Arbutus also did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Moderna had sued Pfizer and BioNTech in August 2022 for allegedly infringing three patents related to their multibillion-dollar mRNA COVID-19 vaccines.
Pfizer and BioNtech are facing another patent infringement lawsuit related to their COVID-19 vaccines brought by Alnylam Pharmaceuticals Inc ALNY.Oin March 2022.
Arbutus rose marginally in volatile trading before the bell while Pfizer and US-listed shares of BioNtech were up around 0.2% each.