2022-07-06| LicensingSpecial

CureVac Files mRNA Patent Lawsuit Against BioNTech in Germany

by Fujie Tham
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Germany-based biotech CureVac is suing BioNTech for alleged infringement of its mRNA technology rights. BioNTech said it will “vigorously defend” its products in response.

“The CureVac intellectual property portfolio protects multiple inventions that are considered essential to the design and development of BioNTech’s SARS CoV-2 mRNA vaccine, among others,” said CureVac in a press release

The biotech deemed its patents cover the engineering of mRNA molecules, including sequence modifications for increasing stability and enhancing protein expression, as well as mRNA vaccine formulations specific to SARS CoV-2 vaccines.

CureVac said it is not seeking an injunction nor intends to take legal action to impede the production, sale, or distribution of the Comirnaty vaccine by BioNTech and its partner Pfizer.

Related article: US Court Rules Novartis Blockbuster Multiple Sclerosis Drug’s Patent Invalid


BioNTech Argues Their Work is Original


Vaccines and drugs using mRNA technology provide instructions for human cells to produce therapeutic molecules, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, the novel technology is rapidly deployed for designing vaccines for the very first time. New application possibilities have also opened up for utilizing mRNA platforms to treat cancers and diseases.

In response to CureVac’s action, BioNTech said that its work is original, and will vigorously defend it against all allegations of patent infringement. “We are aware that it is not unusual that other companies in the pharmaceutical industry, having witnessed the success of its vaccine, are now suggesting that the vaccine potentially infringes their intellectual property rights,” an expected statement from BioNTech, which reported a 2021 full-year revenues of €19.0 billion. 

After unsuccessful efforts to market a COVID-19 vaccine last year, CureVac is currently working on a second-generation bivalent COVID-19 vaccine with GSK, the bivalent Beta/Delta vaccine candidate induced two times higher neutralizing antibody titers against the Omicron variant in a rat model, and works as well as approved monovalent vaccines on the market despite containing only half the dose.


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