Why else? They want more billions.


By Sam Pizzigati, Inequality.org

November 11, 2021


Moderna, the world’s hottest new Big Pharma giant, now has four of its top players sitting on the annual Forbes list of America’s 400 richest. In early 2020, Moderna had none.

Moderna’s Forbes 400 billionaire quartet owes its current good fortune completely to the company’s Covid-19 vaccine. And who made that vaccine possible? U.S. taxpayers. Moderna’s Covid vaccine, as Public Citizen research director Zain Rivzi puts it, “would not exist without the massive contribution of the federal government at every step of the way.”

The Biden administration’s chief science officer for the Covid response, David Kessler, calculates that the federal tax dollars handed to Moderna for vaccine development, testing, and initial manufacture total about $10 billion. And that figure doesn’t include the brainpower of the scientists at the U.S. National Institutes of Health who spent four years actively collaborating with Moderna’s researchers.

Moderna has now filed for a patent on the key vaccine breakthrough these scientists helped produce. The company’s patent application makes no mention of the NIH scientists, a snub that could, notes a Wired analysis, have “major ramifications.”

What sort of ramifications? With a patent that gives the federal scientists the credit they deserve, the U.S. government would be able to “license out the technology” for Moderna’s vaccine to “developing countries where vaccination rates remain low.”

But if Moderna gets its way — gets approval for a crucial patent that denies credit to federal NIH scientists — the company’s billionaires would have “sole control” over the Covid vaccine technology that U.S. scientists and tax dollars did so much to create. That control would enable Moderna to continue placing profits ahead of people. Way ahead of people.

Over the course of this year’s first six months alone, Michael Hiltzik of the Los Angeles Times points out, Moderna “pocketed $4 billion in profits on $5.9 billion in revenue, almost entirely from its Covid vaccine, its only product.”

Those super profits drove the net worth of Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel to $15 billion this past August. But that net worth has been sinking ever since, dropping to a mere $7 billion this past week. And that sinking will only accelerate if Moderna loses total control over the licensing and production of its flagship Covid vaccine. Bancel and his fellow Moderna billionaires, in short, have plenty of incentive to write government scientists out of the most important patent for the injection that by all rights ought to known as the “NIH-Moderna” vaccine.