By Blake Brittain
(Reuters) – Biotech company Alnylam Pharmaceuticals Inc filed new lawsuits on Friday against Pfizer Inc and Moderna Inc in Delaware federal court, again claiming that the companies’ COVID-19 vaccines infringe its patents.
The new lawsuits mark the third time Alnylam has sued Pfizer and Moderna in Delaware for allegedly violating its patent rights in lipid nanoparticle (LNP) technology, which the vaccines use to deliver genetic material into the body.
Alnylam is again seeking an unspecified share of royalties from the companies’ vaccine sales. Pfizer earned $37.8 billion from sales of its COVID-19 vaccine Comirnaty last year, while Moderna made $18.4 billion from its vaccine Spikevax.
Representatives for Alnylam, Moderna and Pfizer did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the new lawsuits. Moderna and Pfizer have denied the allegations in the earlier cases and argued that Alnylam’s patents are invalid.
Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Alnylam first sued Moderna and Pfizer last March. It filed another pair of complaints last July over an additional LNP patent, which were later consolidated with its earlier lawsuits.
The lawsuits filed Friday include four new infringement claims against Pfizer and three against Moderna.
The complaints are part of a wave of patent lawsuits filed by biotech companies over COVID-19 vaccines, including a case brought by Moderna against Pfizer last year in Massachusetts.
Alnylam told the Delaware court that it pioneered LNP technology “essential” to the mRNA-based vaccines more than a decade ago. It also said it gave Moderna confidential information about the technology in 2014 during discussions about a potential collaboration.
The cases are Alnylam Pharmaceuticals Inc v. Moderna Inc, U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware, No. 1:23-cv-00580 and Alnylam Pharmaceuticals Inc v. Pfizer Inc, U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware, No. 1:23-cv-00578.
For Alnylam: William Gaede, Sarah Columbia, Sarah Fischer, Ian Brooks and Bhanu Sadasivan of McDermott Will & Emery
For Moderna and Pfizer: attorney information not available
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(Reporting by Blake Brittain in Washington)