Moderna Therapeutics and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) have raised concerns over how the newly funded Danish firm might approach patents for the vaccine technology behind its gene therapy programmes.
The disclosures, which also include a discussion of GSK’s concerns over Moderna’s monitoring of its patent rights, are based on an email sent from a GSK employee in September last year to colleagues at the firm’s Cambridge research centre.
The document, a draft of an upcoming report on Moderna, which is due to be published in full in June, was sent by a GSK executive to a colleague on the Moderna board.
According to GSK, the email, which was sent by Dr Emanuels Mezger, a senior adviser to Moderna’s chief medical officer, questioned whether Moderna’s programme for muscle-wasting disease Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) was protected by intellectual property laws.
In response, Moderna’s chief operating officer, Sorin Kaivola, alleged in an email to GSK that Moderna was prepared to seek legal advice on such a matter.
“As a result of the conflict and/or concern raised, Moderna is now committed to pursuing a proactive and comprehensive programme of intellectual property consultation with GSK,” Ms Kaivola wrote.
According to Ms Kaivola, the two companies are already in ongoing contact.
GSK declined to comment on the matter.
DMD is a hereditary disorder that affects mainly boys.
Moderna hopes to commercialise gene therapies for the disease and other illnesses in the future.