The dispute surrounding the Moderna SARS-CoV-2 vaccine patents may eventually head to court, Francis Collins, the director of the US National Institutes of Health, tells Reuters.
Earlier this week, the New York Times reported that Moderna and the NIH have been clashing over who should be listed on vaccine-related patent filings. It noted that the development of the vaccine came amidst a years-long partnership between Moderna and the NIH, but that key vaccine-related patent filings made by Moderna left off NIH researchers. Moderna argues that while NIH researchers helped develop the mRNA-based SARS-CoV-2 vaccine, Moderna researchers were its sole inventors.
In a statement to Reuters, Moderna says that it has acknowledged NIH researchers in dosing-related filings and that it is grateful for its collaboration with NIH but adds that it is only required to list Moderna researchers as inventors under US patent law.
NIH's Collins, though, disagrees. "I think Moderna has made a serious mistake here in not providing the kind of co-inventorship credit to people who played a major role in the development of the vaccine that they're now making a fair amount of money off of," Collins tells Reuters, adding that "[we] are not done. Clearly this is something that legal authorities are going to have to figure out."