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Moderna's Patent Filings, Applications Under Defense Department Review: Report

Moderna Inc (NASDAQ: MRNA), one of the frontrunners in the COVID-19 vaccine race, is reportedly facing an investigation into its patents. 

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Moderna Inc (NASDAQ:MRNA), one of the frontrunners in the COVID-19 vaccine race, is reportedly facing an investigation into its patents. 

What Happened: Moderna is facing a federal probe over the patents it has been awarded, according to the Financial Times

The Department of Defense has initiated a probe on the patents after patient advocacy group Knowledge Ecology International said in a post Friday it has found that Moderna has not reported government funding in its 126 patents and 154 patent applications.

KEI said in the post that it made a request to the DoD and Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency to remedy this.

Moderna has secured $25 million in grants from the DARPA to develop the technology for its coronavirus vaccine.

"It appears that all past and present Darpa awards to Moderna include the requirement to report the role of government-funding for related inventions," the FT reported, quoting an email response from DARPA spokesman.

Disclosure of federal funding in patent applications gives an idea of how public funds are being used and whether the beneficiary of the funding is paying royalty revenue to the government, the FT said.

This is especially important with respect to expensive drugs and therapies developed using taxpayer dollars, the report said. 

Why It's Important: Moderna's disclosures have revealed that its vaccine candidate is pricier relative to the competition.

The company commenced the Phase 3 trial of its vaccine candidate, mRNA-1273, in late July.

With FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn suggesting in a report that the agency is willing to accord emergency use authorization to vaccine candidates before Phase 3 trials are complete, Moderna could be one of the beneficiaries.

MRNA Price Action: At last check, Moderna shares were slipping 5.78% to $63.59.

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