GSK says it is owed a portion of Pfizer and BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine sales in the latest patent suit filed against the Comirnaty partners.

In a lawsuit filed in federal court in Delaware Thursday, the UK pharma claimed Pfizer and BioNTech benefited from mRNA research conducted more than a decade before the pandemic. GSK said it secured the patents to those discoveries in 2015, when it acquired a portion of Novartis’ vaccines business.

“The foundation of Defendants’ technical and financial success with Covid-19 vaccines is the technology of GSK’s patented inventions,” GSK wrote in a complaint, which was first reported by Reuters.

Pfizer denied the allegations in a statement to Endpoints News. BioNTech acknowledged the lawsuit, but declined to comment.

“We are confident in our IP position around Comirnaty and intend to vigorously defend against these claims,” a Pfizer spokesperson said.

Pfizer and BioNTech have been involved in a drawn-out dispute with Moderna for almost two years, after the Cambridge, MA biotech accused them of copying parts of its vaccine technology patented between 2010 and 2016. Pfizer and BioNTech have denied those claims, and recently asked the US Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) to weigh in.

Comirnaty generated $11.2 billion in 2023 sales. GSK has asked the court to grant it a “reasonable royalty.”

“GSK is committed to taking appropriate action where necessary to protect the company’s intellectual property and believes that these patents provided the foundational technology used in Pfizer and BioNTech’s Covid-19 mRNA vaccines,” a GSK spokesperson said. “We are willing to license these patents on commercially reasonable terms.”

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