The European Investment Bank (EIB) is backing biotechnology SMEs in Denmark by investing in the BIOMED II venture capital fund (A/S BI Biomedicinsk Udvikling II). This DKK 54 (EUR 7.3)(1) million investment is the first EIB venture capital operation in Denmark.

EIB's support goes through the promoter of the BIOMED II Fund, the BANKINVEST Group, which aims at raising capital up to some DKK 300 million for the BIOMED II fund.

The primary objective of BIOMED II is to invest in growth-oriented biotechnology and pharmaceutical SMEs in their development phase. The companies would mainly be based in Denmark and Sweden.

Through the investment in BIOMED II, the EIB reinforces its co-operation and complementarity with the Danish banking sector, as BANKINVEST is a financial group owned by some 50 Danish regional and savings banks.

The EIB, the European Union's long-term financing arm, was authorised in June 1997 by the European Council of Ministers to invest up to EUR 1 billion in venture capital facilities in support of innovation and technological development by SME within the European Union.Since then, the EIB has committed EUR 509 million in some 30 equity participations throughout the EU. A further EUR 250 million is being managed by the EIB's associate, the European Investment Fund, through the European Technology Facility.In Denmark, the EIB has during the last five years extended loans totalling some DKK 29 (EUR 3.9) billion to finance infrastructure projects, above all the Storebælt and Øresund rail-road fixed links, as well as investments within industry.

(1) EUR 1 = 0.621700 GBP; 7.44330 DKK.