Microbix wins patent challenge in Europe

Microbix, a Toronto, Canada-based biological product and technology developer, announced on Thursday that it successfully defended its VIRUSMAX patent claims during a hearing at the European Patent Office in Munich, Germany.

Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics, a Basel, Switzerland-based pharmaceutical company, challenged VIRUSMAX, Microbix's vaccine manufacturing process, on multiple grounds. The EPO tribunal agreed with Microbix's position and ruled that all patent claims are inventive and novel. As a result of the hearing, Microbix will retain all its patent claims as originally granted.

"We were surprised when Novartis filed their challenge in 2011, however we remained confident in our position and we expected this outcome," Vaughn Embro-Pantalony, the president and CEO of Microbix, said. "The EPO's decision reinforces that VIRUSMAX is a novel and inventive technology that provides significant manufacturing efficiencies to the influenza vaccine industry, thereby increasing global vaccine supply."

Microbix currently owns intellectual property for an animal reproduction technology, an approved biological drug and a vaccine technology.

"Defending intellectual property rights is a strategic imperative for Microbix and we are pleased with this outcome," Embro-Pantalony said.

Microbix previously announced that it filed a patent infringement proceeding against Novartis in the U.S. The action is proceeding.

VIRUSMAX is a proprietary technology meant to increase virus yields in the manufacturing process for influenza vaccines.