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Debate about corona vaccines: Biontech temporarily waives patent protection


Biontech positions itself in the debate about vaccine patents: According to a newspaper report, the Mainz-based company wants to temporarily refrain from enforcing patent protection.

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Biontech wants to temporarily refrain from enforcing patent protection for corona vaccines

Photo: Carlos Ortega / EPA

Can the corona vaccination campaign be accelerated by lifting the patent protection for the vaccines?

There has been an argument about this for a few days.

The Mainz pharmaceutical company Biontech would also be affected by the step - and has now commented on the question.

The company wants to temporarily refrain from enforcing patent protection for its corona vaccine.

This is reported by the "Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung" according to prior notification.

According to a spokeswoman, the company will not take legal action against any imitators until the end of the corona pandemic.

This is a new turn in the corona vaccine patent protection debate.

The US surprisingly campaigned on Wednesday to temporarily suspend the patents.

The World Health Organization (WHO) is also in favor of a suspension in order to be able to supply the population of poorer countries with cheap vaccines.

The federal government warned against suspending the patents for the vaccines.

Germany is not alone in this in the EU.

A suspension of patent protection will "not solve the problems in the short and medium term" and "not bring a single dose of vaccination," said EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen (CDU) on Friday at the EU summit in Porto.

She was "open" to a discussion on the US proposal to suspend vaccine patents.

If this is carried out, however, it must take place with a »360-degree view« and take into account all aspects »because we need vaccines for the entire world«.

EU Council President Charles Michel made a similar statement on Saturday.

Biontech boss Şahin was against a suspension

Biontech boss Uğur Şahin had recently spoken out against completely overturning patent protection.

“Patents are not the limiting factor in the production or supply of our vaccine.

They would not increase global production and supply in the short or medium term, ”he told SPIEGEL.

It is more important to increase production capacities.

So far, Biontech and its US partner Pfizer have been using six production sites, spread across the USA and Europe.

Now the Mainz-based company wants to expand its own production in Europe and start in Asia.

With the promise to temporarily no longer enforce patent protection for its corona vaccine, Biontech is now joining its American competitor Moderna.

Moderna announced last year that it would not enforce its patents during the pandemic.

The company received applause for this, but it turned out to be premature: The company hardly makes any move to tell other companies the secrets of manufacturing its mRNA vaccines.

The vaccines from Biontech and Moderna are based on the new mRNA technology and have so far shown the highest effectiveness of all approved corona vaccines.

sos / Reuters / AFP

Source: spiegel

All business articles on 2021-05-10

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