Vaxxinova Alleges Elanco Animal Health Infringed on Vaccine Technology Patents

On Wednesday in the Southern District of Indiana, Epitopix LLC, doing business as Vaxxinova US, filed a complaint against Elanco Animal Health Inc., alleging infringement of patents covering the plaintiff’s developed animal vaccine technology.

Animal health research and development company Vaxxinova specializes in veterinary vaccine development, the complaint said, pioneering in the 1980s siderophore receptor protein (SRP) vaccines, which protect animals from bacterial infections through “starving” the bacteria of iron, an essential element for bacteria to thrive, and “generating an antibody mediated immune response in the host animal.”

Vaxxinova owns a “robust family of patents” to cover its SRP technology — no fewer than 13, according to the complaint, including those in dispute in this case, U.S. Patent Nos. 7,943,150; 7,943,151; and 8,282,941. The products covered by these patents include cattle, poultry, and swine vaccines.

Vaxxinova argued that Elanco, also an animal vaccine and pharmaceutical developer, knows of the patents-in-suit, given the companies have engaged in business conversations related to SRP technology over the years, according to the plaintiff, including Vaxxinova sharing with Elanco some of the patents in the SRP portfolio in 2008. The companies purportedly engaged in disagreements about intellectual property ownership rights, which ceased around May 2010, according to the complaint.

“Despite rebuffing any license or other business arrangement with Vaxxinova, Elanco proceeded to develop and acquire … technology that infringes upon Vaxxinova’s SRP® technology and patents,” the plaintiff alleged.

The products that Vaxxinova claimed are infringing on the patents-in-suit are Elanco’s Nuplura PH and Nuplura PH+, arguing that the products satisfy every limitation of at least one claim of each patent-in-suit for their composition of SRPs and other technologies.

“Vaxxinova believes that Elanco is and has been aware of Vaxxinova’s SRP® technology and has been, or reasonably should have been, aware of Vaxxinova’s patents covering its SRP® technology,” since December 2020 when Vaxxinova first contacted the defendant concerning its allegedly infringing products, the plaintiff said.

However, the plaintiff said it believes that Elanco “had actual or constructive knowledge” of the family of patents since at least 2008 when the parties discussed Vaxxinova’s SRP patent portfolio.

The plaintiff claimed it “has suffered, and will continue to suffer, irreparable harm, unless Elanco is enjoined” from continuing to allegedly infringe on the plaintiff’s patents. Vaxxinova requested judgment by the court that Elanco’s alleged conduct constituted infringement, a preliminary and permanent injunction to bar Elanco from continuing to allegedly infringe, and other relief.

Vaxxinova is represented by FisherBroyles LLP.