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Moderna: Stock of the Week

Moderna: Stock of the Week

Andrew Willis:

A recent lawsuit filed by Moderna MRNA against Pfizer PFE and BioNTech BNTX over patents related to mRNA technology used to develop the COVID-19 vaccine may seem a bit late as the pandemic appears to settle… or perhaps we have yet to see the full potential of what the company calls “the software of life.”

The ability to deliver instructions to a patient’s own body

. It can also be used to combat existing diseases, such as cancer, by triggering an immune reaction. MRNA can also be used in protein replacement therapy, which can treat a variety of illnesses.

Just as the opportunities are strong, so is the intellectual property at Moderna, says sector strategist Karen Andersen. "Multi-layered" protection at the firm extends through at least 2033 for patents already issued, and beyond 2041 for patents pending. So why didn’t this lawsuit come up earlier if protection already existed?

Moderna Sues Pfizer and BioNTech for Patent Infringement

In

, Moderna said that around October 2020, the company says it decided to hold off on enforcing patents while the pandemic continued at peak levels. The company now seeks compensation, which could be useful to fund new large scale-manufacturing facilities and help position the firm to accelerate timelines for new drugs. In fairness, we do note that Moderna did just get a cash infusion from the sales of COVID-19 vaccines last year… and the recent order for 12 million doses for Canada should also help.

We also note that the mRNA vaccine space is highly fragmented with many other firms, large and small, with patents in the field. Meanwhile, Moderna’s experience in artificial intelligence and digital technologies could still allow it to produce the best mRNA sequences in the sector.

For Morningstar, I’m Andrew Willis.

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