Microbix sues Novartis for alleged patent infringement

Microbix Biosystems, Inc., a Toronto, Canada-based biological product developer, announced on Monday that it filed a lawsuit against Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics for allegedly infringing on Microbix's proprietary VIRUSMAX technology.

Microbix's VIRUSMAX technology is used to increase virus yields in egg-based vaccine manufacturing. Between 2006 and 2011, Microbix was granted patents for the VIRUSMAX technology in 21 different countries.

An independent study published in the Journal of Vaccine in 2006 found that the application of VIRUSMAX technology resulted in a significant increase in flu virus production in eggs. Microbix also demonstrated significant yield increases over conventional processes of manufacturing for multiple influenza vaccine strains using its technology.

"VIRUSMAX is a novel technology that was developed by our company at significant cost," Vaughn Embro-Pantalony, the president and CEO of Microbix, said. "The technology provides significant efficiencies to the influenza vaccine industry and it benefits the global supply of vaccine. We intend to enforce our intellectual property rights surrounding this technology."

The patent application for VIRUSMAX was first published internationally in 2004. At the time, the global market for influenza vaccine was $1.6 billion and public health authorities expressed concern about limited global vaccine manufacturing capacity and supply. Since then, the market experienced significant growth. The industry is predicted to reach a value of $4 billion in 2014.