CureVac touts 'progress' as German court suspends infringement proceedings against BioNTech

With much riding on its mRNA patent litigation against BioNTech, Germany’s CureVac thinks the case is moving in its favor. But the company's investors didn't join in on the celebrations Thursday.

The Regional Court Düsseldorf has suspended infringement proceedings on four patents at issue in the lawsuit CureVac previously filed against BioNTech, according to a release.

A ruling will come from the court once the validity of the patents has been determined by the relevant patent offices, CureVac said.

In most instances, German infringement courts only suspend proceedings if the validity of the intellectual property has been challenged and is also considered infringed, according to CureVac.

“Therefore, it may be concluded that the Regional Court Düsseldorf found all four intellectual property rights to be infringed,” the company said in its release.

The company touted the development as "progress." 

Still, CureVac's stock did not respond favorably to the news. Shares were down about 10% Thursday afternoon.

A spokesperson for BioNTech called Thursday's development an "important decision as we believe CureVac’s patents and utility models discussed today do not meet the requirements for grant and should never have been granted."

"Therefore, we are seeking decisions in separate proceedings to invalidate them," the spokesperson said.

The infringement case, filed in early June 2022, covered five different intellectual property rights in Germany. CureVac later expanded the scope of the lawsuit.

When CureVac filed the lawsuit, the company said it had no intention of disrupting the production, sale or distribution of BioNTech's lucrative vaccine with an injunction. Instead, the company seeks recognition and compensation for the technology it says it developed.

Pfizer and BioNTech quickly hit back, filing a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts over what the partners called “threats of a groundless patent infringement suit by a company, CureVac, who has been unable to bring to market any product to help in the fight against COVID-19.”

Analysts at Evercore ISI on Thursday wrote to clients that they believe the "likelihood of a settlement increases as proceedings mature, especially with positive signs for [CureVac's] case (like today’s announcement)."

The analysts described CureVac's intellectual property case against BioNTech as the company's "most important driver" right now.

Editor's note: This story was updated with a statement from BioNTech.