An advocacy group has asked the Department of Defense’s research unit, known as Darpa (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency), to investigate dozens of Moderna’s (NASDAQ:MRNA) patents. The group claims Moderna failed to disclose millions of dollars in Darpa awards in patent applications it filed for vaccines.

The group – Knowledge Ecology International – asserts Moderna received $20M from the federal government in grants several years ago, and says the funds “likely” led to the creation of vaccines.

From the letter: “Moderna was one of the awardees under the Autonomous Diagnostics to Enable Prevention and Therapeutics (“ADEPT”) program and performed research related to mRNA vaccines with funds granted by DARPA. Moderna used the ADEPT funding in their Chikungunya and Zika vaccines programs. It is likely that the DARPA awards more generally supported the establishment of their mRNA platform, which can be used against other viral infections, including COVID-19. This support is acknowledged by DARPA itself; for instance on the DARPA website there is currently a statement that states ‘[t]he first coronavirus vaccine to start human testing is from DARPA investment in the Moderna company…’ Despite the evidence that multiple inventions were conceived in the course of research supported by the DARPA awards, not a single one of the patents or applications assigned to Moderna disclose U.S. federal government funding.”

The letter is part of a campaign among advocacy groups to ensure that Covid-19 medical products are available to poor populations around the world.

Darpa says it is “actively researching agency awards to Moderna to identify which patents and pending patents, if any at all, may be associated with Darpa support.”

Despite the hoopla about Moderna’s potential to be a significant provider of a Covid-19 vaccine, and a bullish 4.13/5 rating by Wall Street analysts, Seeking Alpha authors are lukewarm on Moderna, rating it just 2.75 on the bearish-to-bullish scale.


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