SAN DIEGO, June 7, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- Promosome LLC, represented by Susman Godfrey, has filed major patent infringement actions against pharmaceutical behemoths Moderna, Pfizer, and BioNTech. The suits allege that the mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccines produced by these companies violate patented technology owned by Promosome. While these pharma giants are embroiled in their own legal battle over more than $100 billion in collective vaccine revenue, the suits filed Tuesday allege that a small biotech company helped pioneer the transformative technology used in the defendants' mRNA vaccines over a decade before the COVID-19 pandemic.
The patented technology at issue was developed by Nobel laureate Gerald Edelman, Vincent Mauro, Stephen Chappell, and Wei Zhou at The Scripps Research Institute. By 2009, the scientists' deep understanding of protein synthesis led to the discovery of a novel method of modifying mRNA to increase protein expression. This method, the suits allege, makes mRNA vaccines safer and significantly more effective. It is protected by U.S. Patent No. 8,853,179 (the "179 patent"), entitled "Reengineering mRNA Primary Structure for Enhanced Protein Production."
The first lawsuit, against Moderna, describes how, under a 2013 Confidential Disclosure Agreement, Promosome taught its method to Moderna's highest levels of leadership, including CEO Stéphane Bancel and President Stephen Hoge. While Moderna did not license the '179 Patent, mRNA sequence reverse engineering shows that Moderna took the patented technology for its vaccine, Spikevax®. Spikevax® has generated more than $35 billion in revenue. Read the complaint.
The second lawsuit, against Pfizer and BioNTech, alleges that Pfizer and BioNTech's joint COVID-19 vaccine Comirnaty® willfully infringes the '179 Patent. In 2015, Promosome shared its technology with BioNTech scientist, Dr. Katalin Karikó, but neither BioNTech nor Pfizer pursued a license for Comirnaty®, which has generated revenues exceeding $75 billion. Read the complaint.
"Our client's cutting-edge technology has helped spare hundreds of millions of people from the harmful effects of COVID-19," said Susman Godfrey partner Bill Carmody, lead lawyer on the matter. "Unfortunately, these big pharma companies have failed to give Promosome what it deserves."
Working with Bill Carmody are his Susman Godfrey partners, Joe Grinstein, and Shawn Blackburn.
The cases, filed in the Southern District of California, are Promosome LLC v. Moderna, Inc. et al. ('23CV1047 JES DDL) and Promosome LLC v. Pfizer Inc. et al. ('23CV1048 CAB BLM).
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SOURCE Promosome LLC