The European Patent Office on Thursday handed a win to Moderna in a long-running patent battle with Pfizer and BioNTech over certain components of the mRNA vaccines authorized to fight Covid-19.

“We are pleased to announce that the European Patent Office decided to maintain the validity of Moderna’s EP949 patent, one of the key patents currently asserted against Pfizer and BioNTech in various European national courts,” Moderna said in an emailed statement. “While we anticipate that the opponents will appeal this decision, we appreciate the diligent review and thorough understanding of the scientific and legal issues demonstrated by the EPO Opposition Division during the oral proceedings.”

Thursday’s win for Moderna follows a loss last November as the EPO declared a different Moderna patent covering its Covid-19 vaccine invalid.

A Pfizer spokesperson told Endpoints News via email on Friday that the company “is disappointed about today’s 1st instance decision by the Opposition Division of the European Patent Office to maintain Moderna’s European patent EP3590949 B1. Pfizer will consider all legal options and may appeal this decision.”

Pfizer also said the patent proceedings have no impact on the company’s continuation in manufacturing and supplying its Covid-19 vaccine.

Listed as the inventors on the patent, which covers ribonucleic acids containing N1-methyl-pseudouracils and their uses, are Seagen senior director Jason Schrum, who served as a founding scientist at Moderna from 2010 to 2012; Antirna founder Suhaib Siddiqi, who served as director of chemistry at Moderna for five months in 2011; and uniQure medical director Kenechi Ejebe, who was a senior scientist at Moderna from 2011 to 2012, according to their LinkedIn profiles.

Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech have also been battling over patents in the US, where last month a federal judge ruled that Moderna’s lawsuit against Pfizer and BioNTech should be put on hold while the US Patent and Trademark Office reviews petitions brought against two of the three Covid-19 vaccine-related patents that Moderna feels have been infringed.

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