CureVac N.V., a global biopharmaceutical company developing a new class of transformative medicines based on messenger ribonucleic acid, today announced that its motion to transfer the ongoing patent litigation filed by Pfizer/BioNTech in the federal district court of Massachusetts has been granted, moving the case to the Eastern District of Virginia. The transfer is expected to significantly accelerate progress of the litigation, allowing for a likely 2024 trial date.

The motion to transfer the case is now part of a broadened counterclaim CureVac is filing that alleges infringement of nine U.S. patents by the manufacture and sale of the SARS-CoV-2 vaccine Comirnaty. This significantly expands the scope of the case beyond the three patents originally named by Pfizer/BioNTech. These nine patents cover foundational and highly relevant separate innovations in mRNA vaccine design, formulation and manufacturing specific to SARS-CoV-2 vaccines.

Corresponding patent litigation in Germany has been ongoing since June 2022. A preliminary opinion issued in April 2023 by the German Federal Patent Court supports the validity of one of the CureVac patents at issue, EP 1 857 122 B1, which was challenged by BioNTech in September 2022. The German litigation, which originated with a filing by CureVac regarding four of its intellectual property rights, now covers a fifth intellectual property right (EP 3 708 668 B1).

“The progress of this litigation to date, in both Europe and the United States, gives us confidence in both the validity of our intellectual property portfolio and its relevance to the mRNA field,” said CureVac CEO Dr. Alexander Zehnder. “Our scientists have pioneered fundamental break­throughs in mRNA vaccine technology over the last two decades. These contributions underpin the rapid development of SARS-CoV-2 mRNA vaccines such as Comirnaty. This supports CureVac’s claim to fair compensation under U.S. and German law, and a proportionate share of the approximately $80 billion[1] in revenue that Comirnaty has generated worldwide to date and a share of future revenues.”

CureVac filed a patent infringement lawsuit in Germany against BioNTech in early June 2022. A nullity action covering one of the patents at issue (EP 1 857 122 B1) was filed by Pfizer/BioNTech in September 2022. In the U.S., Pfizer/BioNTech filed its case in the federal district court of Massachusetts in late July 2022, asking for confirmation that Comirnaty does not infringe three CureVac patents.