EInst they were considered the two German vaccine hopes, now there is a legal dispute: Curevac accuses Biontech of patent infringements and has filed a lawsuit against the Mainz mRNA competitor in the Düsseldorf Regional Court. Curevac announced this on Tuesday in Tübingen.
In the statement, Curevac referred to its “intellectual property rights from more than two decades of pioneering work in mRNA technology”. These were used in the manufacture and sale of Biontech and Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine. According to Curevac, the patents protect “several inventions that are considered essential for the design and development of BioNTech’s SARS CoV-2 mRNA vaccines, among others”.
And what about Moderna?
It is about the production of the mRNA molecules. The Tübingen-based company, whose major shareholders include SAP billionaire Dietmar Hopp and the federal government, says it does not want to obtain an injunction or take any steps “that could hinder the production, sale or distribution” of the vaccine.
Curevac did not give any financial details about the process, it is only about a “fair remuneration” with which the patent rights must be recognized and respected. Curevac wants to use the amount to continue investing in mRNA technology.
It remains unclear whether Curevac is also considering filing a lawsuit against American competitor Moderna. “Even if the previous vaccines may not have a Curevac logo, they are largely based on mRNA technologies that we have been developing since 2000,” said Curevac boss Franz-Werner Haas in an interview with the FAZ at the end of June said. In presentations to investors, the company repeatedly emphasizes its patent portfolio and cites a study as evidence that Curevac is globally the strongest of all mRNA companies in this area.
In the press release, Curevac describes itself as the “earliest pioneer of mRNA technology”. The company has been researching this since the turn of the millennium. It was considered a great mRNA vaccine hope along with Biontech and Moderna.
Unlike the two competitors, however, no Corona vaccine from Curevac has been approved to date. The company is working with the British pharmaceutical company Glaxo-Smith-Kline on a second-generation vaccine. Curevac writes high losses and generates sales mainly through two cooperations with GSK.