Do you have an interest in mRNA technologies, in particular mRNA vaccines? 

The European Patent Office (EPO) has published an insight report providing an overview of patent trends and broader information on the field of mRNA technologies (see here). The report provides an accessible overview of this growing field with analysis of the EPOs extensive patent data. The results will be of interest to broad stakeholders in academia and industry who are active in this exciting area.

While mRNA vaccines came to the forefront of public attention during the COVID-19 pandemic, the insight report provides on overview of the long history of mRNA technologies and how they have evolved up to the present day. The EPO’s analysis of where companies and universities are focusing their efforts, particularly in the medical application category and vaccines subcategory (see Figure 13), provides fascinating insights into the parties involved and their commercial strategies. The insight report also highlights additional challenges where innovative solutions will no doubt be pursued in future patent applications. 

Over recent years there have been many sources of information on the development of mRNA vaccines and their commercialisation from academic publications, news reports and at conferences. Pharmaceutical companies, biotech companies, universities, governments, technology and innovation enterprises and others have shared how they have addressed and contributed to the rapid development of mRNA vaccines. The EPO’s insight report provides a further contribution from a patent perspective on the big picture and emerging trends in this field. 

Beyond the scope of the EPO’s insight report are the important areas of patent dispute between parties (for example, patents directed towards inventions in the technological sub-area of mRNA vaccine delivery). Also beyond the scope of this report is how the technical challenges related to mRNA based vaccines translate across the broader RNA technology field, for example highlighting mRNA specific challenges and developments versus self-amplifying RNA challenges and developments. These are important additional factors that many parties will continue to take into account as they move forward.

At Boult we have expertise in patent matters across the broad field of RNA technology. Do get in touch if you would like to explore this area with us.