The company Curevac, which failed in the development of a first corona vaccine, is going on the offensive: the Tübingen-based company accuses its competitor Biontech of infringing patent rights – and is suing against it.

The Tübingen biotech company Curevac has filed a lawsuit against the corona vaccine manufacturer Biontech and two subsidiaries. As the company announced, it is about appropriate compensation for an infringement of intellectual property rights.

The lawsuit was brought before the District Court of Düsseldorf. It’s about four patents. Biontech rejected the allegation of patent infringement.

In the process, it must be clarified to what extent the respective patents went into the development of the Biontech vaccine, said Curevac boss Franz-Werner Haas. He did not say what amount Curevac envisages. This must be clarified in the process. The parties disagree on this issue after numerous discussions.

Curevac develops second-generation vaccine

Curevac says it is not seeking an injunction, nor does it intend to take any legal action that could impede the production, sale or distribution of Biontech’s Comirnaty vaccine. After a promising start in mid-2021, the Tübingen-based company failed to bring a corona vaccine onto the market and now wants to be a pioneer in the development of a new second-generation vaccine with its British partner Glaxosmithkline. A clinical study of his new candidate was started at the end of March.

Curevac argues the company’s intellectual property protects several inventions considered essential to Biontech’s design and development of coronavirus vaccines. These relate to the production of mRNA molecules, for example. Curevac supported the rapid development of vaccines as an early pioneer of mRNA technology. “Accordingly, intellectual property rights must be recognized and respected in the form of fair remuneration in order to invest in advancing mRNA technology and new classes of life-saving drugs.”

Biontech rejects “accusations”.

Biontech said the company’s work is “original and we will vigorously defend it against all allegations of patent infringement.” It’s not uncommon for other pharmaceutical companies, following the success of the Biontech vaccine, to claim that the vaccine may infringe on their intellectual property rights.

Curevac was founded in 2000 by Ingmar Hoerr. He is regarded as the discoverer of the new vaccination technique. Like the vaccines from Biontech and Moderna, it is based on so-called messenger RNA. The company is based in Tübingen and employs more than 500 people in Tübingen, Frankfurt and Boston. Hoerr retired as CEO in spring 2020 for health reasons.