Seeking to quickly widen global access to Covid-19 vaccines, a group of academics and patient advocates is urging the Biden administration to use a key patent owned by the U.S. government to boost manufacturing and distribution of the Moderna (MRNA) shot.
In a letter to federal officials, the group noted that a soon-to-be-issued-patent covering the use of spike proteins in the vaccine was jointly developed by the company and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. The patent has not been licensed to Moderna; the group maintains it is an “important policy tool” that can be used to ensure any licensing agreement fosters greater access.
Specifically, members of the group argue the U.S. government should compel Moderna to transfer its manufacturing know-how to contract manufacturers to scale up production. Currently, Moderna relies on just one contract manufacturer, Lonza, to produce drug substance for its vaccine. They also say technology should be shared with the World Health Organization’s technology access pool, known as C-TAP.