Stéphane Bancel, the CEO of Moderna, is scheduled to speak in front of the Senate’s healthcare panel on Wednesday. This comes as the federal government kindly offers to save his business from prosecution for patent litigation.
Moderna in Trouble
Following Moderna’s proposal to quadruple the price of its COVID-19 injectable, the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee is holding a hearing on Wednesday to interview Bancel about drug costs.
GOP Sen. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana serves as the committee’s senior member and Independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who chairs HELP, has long supported reduced prescription prices.
Less focus has been given to the Biden administration’s involvement in continuing patent infringement cases than to the question of vaccination cost.
Arbutus Biopharma and Genevant Sciences, two little biotechnology companies, filed a lawsuit against Moderna, claiming the company used its technology to create their COVID-19 vaccine. Moderna is presently defending against the claims.
Despite the backing of the U.S. government, Moderna failed to persuade a federal judge it should not have to face a patent lawsuit over its COVID-19 vaccine and that the United States should have been sued instead @blakebrittain https://t.co/3IfejzMWrm pic.twitter.com/4khzi1Arnv
— Reuters Legal (@ReutersLegal) March 13, 2023
The lucrative vaccination contract drove a considerable rise from the company’s approximately $800 million in earnings in 2020 to Moderna’s estimated $18.4 billion in earnings in 2021, along with $19.2 billion in revenue in 2022.
Bancel received a good salary, as well as various forms of rewards totaling more than $400 million.
Arbutus and Genevant claimed Moderna violated their copyrights for the lipid nanoparticle technology which their scientists developed over years of exceedingly difficult efforts.
Because there is so much money at stake, the corporations could receive compensation from Moderna if the lawsuit is successful.
Moderna received billions of taxpayer dollars to develop the vaccine. Why do they need the federal government to pay their legal fees? https://t.co/4l5Cy5Dywm
— Senator Mike Braun (@SenatorBraun) March 22, 2023
Many of those funds came from the pockets of American taxpayers and were transferred to Moderna. The U.S. government directly acquired COVID-19 vaccinations for nearly the whole pandemic and gave them away for free to individuals who requested the doses.
In addition, Moderna received roughly $2.5 billion from the government to support the creation of vaccines.
Biden Administration Gets Involved
The Biden administration has been trying to give the business another advantage. The DOJ submitted a declaration of interest in the Moderna lawsuit last month, seeking to assume responsibility for the business’ claimed patent violation.