TÜBINGEN, Germany / BOSTON, MA, January 8, 2019 – CureVac AG, a fully integrated biopharmaceutical company pioneering the field of mRNA-based drugs, announced that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has granted a fundamental patent for the use of mRNA encoding the Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) F-protein for vaccination of infants up to two years of age (US Patent No. 10,172,935). The F-protein is the major antigen of RSV and forms the basis of potential future RSV vaccines. The USPTO already granted a similar patent in 2017 that relates to vaccination of infants for the prophylaxis of influenza. Moreover, similar patents have already been granted to CureVac in Europe and Japan. Together, these broad technology patents strengthen CureVac’s industry-leading position in the mRNA space as the Company develops preventative vaccine candidates for severe infectious diseases, such as RSV and influenza.
CureVac’s mRNA technology uses optimized mRNA encoding F-protein to stimulate a protective and balanced immune response against RSV. For such optimized mRNA constructs, CureVac already holds a U.S. patent that supplements CureVac’s patent portfolio regarding RSV vaccination.
Vaccination of infants is especially difficult because they do not yet have fully established immune systems. Several efforts in the industry to develop and market a prophylactic RSV vaccine have failed to date. Therefore, vaccination of infants against RSV remains an unmet need and one of the major challenges for prophylactic vaccination.
This patent strengthens CureVac’s broad IP portfolio, among the most comprehensive in the industry, with more than 110 patent families, over 1,000 patent family members and more than 190 granted patents.
RSV is a common respiratory virus and is the most common cause of bronchiolitis and pneumonia in children younger than one year of age in the U.S. An estimated 3.4 million children younger than five years of age are hospitalized each year with severe RSV lower respiratory tract infection, with the highest incidence in children younger than six months of age. RSV is second only to influenza as a cause of medically significant respiratory tract illnesses in adults and is estimated to cause 177,000 hospitalizations and 14,000 annual deaths in U.S. adults age 65 years and older. In the northern hemisphere and areas with similar climates, RSV infections occur primarily during fall, winter, and spring.1
1 “Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infection” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. June 2018. Last Accessed January 2019. https://www.cdc.gov/rsv/index.html