December 7, 2022

 

Moderna has turned down a request from Beijing to handover the core intellectual property behind the development of its breakthrough COVID-19 vaccine.

That caused the collapse in negotiations on its sale there, multiple people told the Financial Times.

The pharmaceutical company had commercial and safety concerns concerning the recipe.

Moderna is reportedly still interested in selling the product to China. 

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Moderna Log

Illustration of Moderna logo and vaccination (iStock / iStock)

Talks went on between 2020 and 2021. 

The mRNA vaccine technology used by Moderna and BioNTech/Pfizer lasts longer and provides higher levels of protection than the inactivated vaccine technology used by Chinese makers. 

Several Chinese pharma companies are racing to develop a homemade mRNA alternative but have struggled with the emergence of more infectious variants. 

Vaccine COVID

A pharmacist holds a vial of the Moderna coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine in West Haven, Connecticut. (REUTERS/Mike Segar/File Photo / Reuters)

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One individual close to the Moderna team in Greater China told the FT, the company had “given up” on its previous efforts to access the Chinese market, because of Beijing’s demand that it hand over the technology as a prerequisite for selling in the country. 

Chinese workers wearing protective suits during COVID-19 Pandemic

Workers in protective suits ride an electric tricycle on a street during lockdown, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, in Shanghai, China, May 1, 2022. REUTERS/Aly Song (REUTERS/Aly Song / Reuters Photos)

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The Moderna leadership did not want to hand over the vaccine recipe to a Chinese partner, in case the partner botched the manufacturing, injuring the company’s reputation.

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In recent weeks, Moderna has shown an interest in restarting talks with China. 

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