Arbutus Biopharma and Genevant Sciences have filed a lawsuit against Moderna and its affiliate seeking damages for the infringement of US patents linked to the production and supply of Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine, MRNA-1273.

The lawsuit was filed in the US District Court for the District of Delaware. 

Arbutus noted that the patents are linked to lipid vesicles and nucleic acid-lipid particles, as well as the compositions and methods for their usage. 

Genevant and Arbutus scientists worked for years to develop and improve lipid nanoparticle (LNP) delivery technology that is licenced to various third parties for a variety of applications. 

To shelter and guard RNA molecules, the LNP technology leverages microscopic particles made from four different fat-like molecule types. 

Using this delivery technology, the RNA can transverse through the human body to a target cell and the membrane of the target cell before being released. 

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The RNA would rapidly degrade in the body without this technology and will become ineffective.

Arbutus president and CEO William Collier said: “Arbutus and its licensee Genevant do not seek an injunction or otherwise seek to impede the sale, manufacture or distribution of MRNA-1273. 

“However, we seek fair compensation for Moderna’s use of our patented technology that was developed with great effort and at great expense, without which Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine would not have been successful.”

Moderna’s appeal of a previous decision of the US Patent Trial was rejected by the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in December last year.

Furthermore, the Appeal Board held all claims linked to the ’069 patent to be patentable.

Another appeal of the company challenging the patentability for some claims of the ‘435 patent was also dismissed. 

In February, Moderna and Adium Pharma signed a distribution service agreement for the commercialisation of the former’s Covid-19 vaccine in the region.