The Pharma arm of pharmaceutical giant Moderna paid $3 billion for the exclusive rights to use its messenger RNA technology for vaccines. That would turn into billions if it could be extended to other products that require delivery of molecules through vaccination.
But Moderna is in a standoff with the U.S. government. The world’s largest public health agency has told the University of Wisconsin, Madison to hand over its rights to Moderna’s messenger RNA technology to a patent holding company because that patent is U.S. owned.
Pharma expert Ken Driggs of the Independent Institute writes that the law says patents cannot be divvied up in this way. In the absence of a clear answer from the Patent Office, the Patent Office was looking into this case. Since this is most unlikely to result in the FDA approval of a vaccine against cancer or any other medicine, it’s time to move on.
In a tweet, Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr. offers hope.
They will be able to work out a solution. Moderna is one of the best pharmaceutical companies in the world, and they are not going to let anyone make money off of something that is none of their business. It’s frustrating to think someone like Moderna could be protected for so long with an unlicensed patent. I think we should be doing better as a country as we go forward. The patent law isn’t a tool that’s helpful to invention.
To read more about Moderna and other healthcare innovators, go to independent.org/healthcare.
Bob Burns is a popular healthcare author, speaker, and the Director of Global Access and Partnerships at Moderna. Follow him on twitter @Bobburns5.