Moderna made a contrarian move by declaring it would place humanity over profits by not enforcing its patents for the mRNA-1273 vaccine during the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s the right thing to do in this health care crisis, and there’s an old saying, “the best capitalism is one with a socialistic heart.” The reality, the pandemic will pass, and smartly, Moderna is working to lock in as many future licenses as possible.
The company recently declared, “We feel a special obligation under the current circumstances to use our resources to bring this pandemic to an end as quickly as possible. Accordingly, while the pandemic continues, Moderna will not enforce our COVID-19 related patents against those making vaccines intended to combat the pandemic.”
The World Health Organization (WHO) responded as chief Adhanom Ghebreyesus was pleased by the U.S. drug company’s announcement.
In a Wall Street Journal interview, Stephen Hoge, President, reported the company is “quite studiously not asserting infringement.” In the article, he alluded to other biotech firms that may be developing vaccines based on Moderna technology. He, of course, wouldn’t name names.
Present Day Humanitarians; Long-Term Capitalists
Although a good gesture, don’t underestimate the intermediate to the long-term game. The publicly traded entity out of Cambridge must monetize its IP, and it will: Investors demand this. The leadership understands that COVID-19 will be around for a long time. This is a smart capitalistic-driven strategy. Get as many biotech ventures to lock into this particular mRNA-based vaccine technology at no cost now, but when the pandemic passes, and it will, lock in on licensing discussions and monetize like it’s 1999.