July 25, 2020 / 3:56 AM / 15 days ago

Moderna says patent ruling not to affect COVID-19 vaccine development

FILE PHOTO: A sign marks the headquarters of Moderna Inc, which is developing a vaccine against the coronavirus, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S., May 18, 2020. REUTERS/Brian Snyder/File Photo

(Reuters) - Moderna Inc said on Friday its formula used in developing a COVID-19 vaccine was not covered under patents owned by Arbutus Biopharma.

An administrative court run by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Thursday rejected Moderna’s arguments to invalidate a U.S. patent owned by Arbutus, sparking worries over its efforts to develop next-generation vaccines, including a coronavirus vaccine.

Moderna said the court’s ruling relates to actions it took in response to “longstanding aggressive posture” taken by Arbutus against developers of nucleic acid-based therapeutics and began well before the development of mRNA-1273, its COVID-19 vaccine candidate.

Moderna shares were up slightly in extended trading, while Arbutus shares closed down 20% on Friday.

Reporting by Vishwadha Chander in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D'Silva

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