Moderna to sue BioNTech and Pfizer over covid vaccine

Originally published at: Moderna to sue BioNTech and Pfizer over covid vaccine | Boing Boing


i guess allowing it for, i don’t know, potentially saving humankind from a deadly disease just didn’t do enough for the bottom line.




Their problem is they don’t have exclusive rights to saving them.


Folks, before jumping to conclusion, Pfizer is far from innocent party. One thing that didn’t get a lot of public attention:

Edit: pasted wrong reference.


Corporations are like degenerate addicts when it comes to resisting the impulse to cash in on a disaster, especially when it’s one as massive as Covid.


Moderna is the little guy here. People like to beat up pharmaceutical company because that’s who we pay for drugs. They are likely trying to hedge for future risks.

Everyone needs to know that drug development costs several billion dollars before it hits the market, and how very little is spent on R&D and manufacturing. Most are spent on clinical trials. Small companies that doesn’t get approval for their drug is basically fucked.

The real perversion is the exorbitant cost of clinical trials nowadays, which deters the companies from pursuing potential cure because it can’t generate enough profit to cover that cost.


That bottom line is what keeps the lights on for them to survive the cost of clinical trials.

The little guy that’s had a pretty substantial revenue increase over the last few years thanks to the US government buying their products.


Just checked - Pfizer had $81 BILLION dollars in revenue, vs Moderna’s $6.1 Billion.

Want more innovative drugs? We need smaller pharma companies to thrive, not just get bought up by big pharma. BioNTech made Pfizer’s vaccine, not Pfizer.

Why are we throwing stones at David?


You’re comparing Pfizer’s annual revenue from 2021 (which is from a lot of products, not just their Covid vaccine) to Moderna’s quarterly revenue. Their annual revenue for 2021 was $18.5 billion, and they’re basically selling one product.

I’m not a big fan of Pfizer either. But calling a company that’s raked in $18.5 billion in 2021 (with a roughly 70% profit margin) a “David” is silly.


Ok, 81:16. Still a pretty big difference in revenue. Market cap for Pfizer is 266B, Moderna 55B.

I know first hand how big companies crush smaller ones, despite ingenuity of scientists and engineers that worked for it.

Why can’t a smaller company have a big hit? World needed this vaccine and someone was there to provide it. Drug approval process is why new drugs are so expensive (note I’m not talking about assholes that just buys approved drug rights and jacks up the price, or opiate marketers here).

I just wish people know a little more about the industry and how unreasonably tough it is. It’s NOT easy money.


Two things can be true simultaneously:

  1. Pharmaceutical companies can develop needed, life-saving products (especially when given boatloads of cash by the government to do so)
  2. Big Pharma is gonna Big Pharma, and try to extract unreasonably large profits whenever they can. And despite the fact that this company is smaller than Pfizer I think that most people would still consider them to be well within the “Big Pharma” category at this point.

I wouldn’t consider Moderna to be “big pharma” simply because it’s closer to a smaller biotech company that had a huge hit in hand at the right time. J&J, Pfizer, Bayer, Novartis, Sanofi, BMS, …. all these companies are old companies that went through multiple mergers and nowadays just buys up smaller companies to mitigate research risks. Note that Pfizer’s vaccine was invented by BioNTech. It’s a little more complicated than that, but money isn’t the only thing here.

Moderna was small before the pandemic. It became that size because of the vaccine. I just think in this case it’s pretty well deserved for their solution.

Based on the revenue number you posted, sure they’re “Big Pharma” now. Prior to 2020-06-30 though, looks like they were just “Moderate Sized Pharma”, maybe even “Small Pharma”.

Is there a standard reference for the scale from “Scrappy tiny startup” to “Multinational conglomerate Big Pharma”?

There’s probably a Gartner chart if I looked hard enough, I guess.


Apropos, there are three companies involved in this. Why is the middle one the little guy? Biontech is quite a bit smaller than either of the others and was all research all the time before covid.

I have no idea how much truth there is to Moderna’s allegations, but I can’t quite follow your reasoning for picking your team.


The FDA delayed Moderna’s vaccine approval to wait for Pfizer, and I’m not naive enough to believe Pfizer didn’t have anything to do with the decision. Little dirty tricks to benefit big companies with connections, at the expense of people’s lives hits too close to home for me on multiple occasions, and I sympathize.

1 Like

Pfizer’s submissions to the FDA and general process throughout the trials was better than Moderna’s. Not the actual vaccines, but the process and analysis steps. Which means there was more work and more back and forth with Moderna than Pfizer.

That explains delays without needing some conspiracy theory about the FDA being biased.

It’s not really a surprise either. As was just pointed out, Pfizer is orders of magnitude larger than Moderna and has many many more products that have gone through the entire process to completion before. Pfizer has entire departments, staffs, and more experience navigating the trial and submission process.

It’s like Joe’s LLC tech startup responding to an RFP compared to E&Y. Sure, the E&Y is loaded with all kinds of extra crap, but they’re going to have a much more slick response and know how to navigate an RFP. Even if Joe’s LLC has just as good a final pitch.

1 Like

I don’t follow - Moderna vaccine did end up being approved at the end. And they did meet the endpoints at the time they have submitted to show its efficacy. I would understand if the stance was that FDA didn’t want to approve the Moderna vaccine initially and changed its mind, but this is not the case here.

Perhaps for the first delay can be attributed to caution, what about the delay related to vaccine under 5 year olds? The vaccine already has proven its efficacy in the real world in humans - there is very little justification if any for this decision.

Oh and if anyone think FDA is impartial, look up Aduhelm and see if that made any sense to you.

yeah – read the whole thread and i see your argument. mine is – everyone who was involved in the vaccine made money. lots of it. i WAS naive enough to think that saving countless lives during a worldwide crisis would be positioned slightly over who got paid what. Moderna may be suing just to keep others from building on their mRNA breakthrough, but the tone of the article was (to me) Moderna was going to make these guys pay. and it is distasteful considering what the situation was surrounding this vaccine. your opinion is different, and respected.

1 Like