Moderna Inc has refused to hand over to China the core intellectual property behind the development of its COVID-19 vaccine, leading to a collapse in negotiations on its sale there, the Financial Times reported on Saturday, citing people familiar with the matter.
The Cambridge, Massachusetts-based pharmaceutical company turned down China’s request to hand over the recipe for its mRNA vaccine because of commercial and safety concerns, the newspaper said, citing people involved in negotiations that took place between 2020 and 2021, adding that the vaccine maker is still “eager” to sell the product to China.
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The company had “given up” on its previous efforts to access the Chinese market because of China’s demand that it hand over the technology as a prerequisite for selling in the country, the report said.
Moderna did not immediately respond to Reuters’ request for comment.
China has not approved any foreign COVID-19 vaccines and relies on several domestically developed shots.
In September, Moderna Chief Medical Officer Paul Burton had said the company was keen to collaborate with China on supplying its mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccines to the country.
“We would certainly be very eager to collaborate with China if they felt that there was a need for a vaccine there,” Burton had told a media briefing for reporters in Asia. “Currently, there is no activity going on, but we’d be very open to it.” (Reporting by Rhea Binoy in Bengaluru; editing by Jonathan Oatis)