Jul 29, 2020 (Baystreet.ca via COMTEX) -- Moderna /zigman2/quotes/205619834/composite MRNA +2.92% should have headed to $100 and close above that level in the last week. If it did so, it would have joined BioNTech /zigman2/quotes/214419716/composite BNTX +0.33% , albeit temporarily, and Novavax /zigman2/quotes/202614340/composite NVAX -6.19% . But worries sent the stock lower.
Moderna lost a patent case that could lead to an upfront payment to Arbutus Biopharma. Arbutus itself posted declining revenue over the years and growing losses. Yet Arbutus has a patent called '069 relating to lipid nanoparticle technology. LNP allows the human body to make its therapeutic proteins (as Reuters reported).
The financial damage to Moderna is not yet known. The firm has no product on the market. Should it get there, then Arbutus may collect either an upfront one-time payment or royalties. Moderna does not have much room to charge a premium for a COVID-19 vaccine. Governments around the world may shun Moderna for profiting too much when the world needs to stop the pandemic.
The legal entanglement distracts the company at a critical time. It may need to bolster its legal department to fight and to minimize future costs.
MRNA stock could still make another run up as it posts clinical results in the near-term. It may have a vaccine as early as later this year or early next year. That would be a defining moment for its shareholders.
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