CureVac Sues COVID-19 Jab-Maker BioNTech Over Alleged mRNA Patent Infringement
© AP Photo / David GoldmanIn this Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020 file photo, a droplet falls from a syringe after a health care worker was injected with the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a hospital in Providence, R.I.
© AP Photo / David Goldman
Tübingen-based biopharmaceutical firm CureVac worked to create a coronavirus vaccine in the early stages of the pandemic, but failed to achieve the desired results. At the time, its jab achieved only 47% effectiveness, compared to BioNTech-Pfizer's 94.6% effectiveness rate.
Two German coronavirus vaccine producers are headed for a legal tussle over patents.
CureVac N.V., a global biopharmaceutical company based in Tübingen, Germany, announced that it is suing Mainz-based firm BioNTech, as well as two subsidiaries, for alleged infringements involving four patents.
CureVac said in its statement that it had “moved to assert its intellectual property rights” regarding its “pioneering work in mRNA technology, which contributed to COVID-19 vaccine development.”
CureVac is also seeking fair compensation for “infringement of a portfolio of CureVac’s intellectual property rights, utilized in the manufacture and sale of Comirnaty®, BioNTech and Pfizer’s mRNA COVID-19 vaccine.”
The company added it did not intend to seek an injunction or take legal action that “impedes the production, sale or distribution of Comirnaty® by BioNTech and its partner Pfizer.”
The case has been filed at the regional court in the western city of Düsseldorf.
In a press release, CureVac said it considered the rapid development of the vaccines a “tremendous achievement” with “unprecedented positive impact for global public health.”
“This achievement is based on decades of scientific research and innovation, supported by CureVac as the earliest pioneer in mRNA technology,” it added.
© AP Photo / Jacob King"Bill" William Shakespeare, 81, receives the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, at University Hospital, Coventry, England, Tuesday Dec. 8, 2020.
"Bill" William Shakespeare, 81, receives the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, at University Hospital, Coventry, England, Tuesday Dec. 8, 2020.
© AP Photo / Jacob King
CureVac had struggled to develop its own mRNA vaccine, but abandoned its first attempt early in the COVID-19 pandemic after it appeared less effective in late stage trials.
With an effectiveness rate of only 47%, it fell far short of the 94.6% achieved by jabs produced jointly by BioNTech and US pharma giant Pfizer. Their vaccine, called Comirnaty, uses messenger RNA to teach cells how to produce a protein that triggers an immune response to the virus in the body.
There has not yet been any official response from BioNTech, however its shares fell 0.9 percent in pre-market trading in New York.