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    Part six in ‘The EFSI Legacy’ series

    The European Fund for Strategic Investments has been a game-changer for economic stimulus programmes backed by EU public financing and for the European Investment Bank. ‘The Legacy’ is a series that tells the story of the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) from 2015 to 2020 through interviews with the Managing Director, Deputy Managing Director, members of the Investment Committee and final beneficiaries across Europe 

    Download ‘The EFSI Legacy’ book here.

    A wider range of financial products and services offered by the European Investment Bank Group to support businesses and other beneficiaries that could not be supported before EFSI. The knowledge and expertise built up during the past five years with EFSI will be available for the future, either with new guarantee instruments or the EIB’s own risk capacity.

    Increased transparency and improved public communication on projects and their impact

    There will be better articulation of “additionality” and focus on areas of market failure or suboptimal investment situations in all future EIB projects, explaining why the EIB is engaging in the project and how the Bank makes a difference, using terminology that is accessible to third parties (including the Bank’s own Management Committee).

    Deepening the “group approach” of the European Investment Bank and the European Investment Fund in activities, reporting and communication

    Projects and people

    European Investment Fund invests in France’s first academic spinout fund, backing Angelita Rebollo’s cancer research

    In her laboratory at Université Pierre et Marie Curie near the banks of the Seine in central Paris, Angelita Rebollo has developed a technique for blocking specific functions of proteins that turn a healthy cell into a cancerous one. The treatment could help people with a range of illnesses, though initial results suggest it will first be used to treat ovarian cancer and severe types of breast cancers. While chemotherapy causes numerous side-effects by destroying many healthy cells, Rebollo’s targeted therapy kills only the cancerous cells.

    Her research into the topic started 17 years ago in Madrid and led her to found a company, PEP-Therapy, with a number of other scientists working at prestigious French research institutions. The company name comes from the molecules at the heart of Rebollo’s research—cell-penetrating and interfering peptides—and the company’s role is to convert this scientific breakthrough into a medicine that can save lives. “The reason we created the company was to take the research from the bench into the hospital,” says Rebollo. “The objective is to develop a molecule that will help many, many people.”

    PEP-Therapy received €1 million of support from Quadrivium 1, the first French investment fund to provide seed funding for life sciences and digital technology projects that start out at—or are linked to—a dozen French academic research institutions. It’s a model that was pioneered by US universities and has been taken up in the UK. It hasn’t been done before in France. “It has been challenging to introduce this concept to France,” says Philippe Tramoy, the Quadrivium 1 partner who manages its life sciences portfolio. “We’re the first one, so everybody is watching us to see if this is something they can follow.”

    The European Investment Fund provided Quadrivium 1 with a €20 million injection that was backed by the EFSI guarantee.

    The economics of scientific research are not lost on Angelita Rebollo. After all, she left her post in Madrid because funds for research were scarce in Spain and she settled in Paris only after stints in Germany and Belgium. “Quadrivium’s investment helps us pay for the development stages,” she says. “We needed funds to find this molecule—this molecule which will hopefully save lives.”

    The main message is to let the market speak

    © TERMA

    How to tell the story of EFSI’s legacy

    COVID-19 may have written a new chapter in the EFSI story even in the programme’s final months. But, after all, there were already plenty of ways to tell that story, such has been the scope of the enterprise.

    Tell it as we have done throughout this document, in the personal stories of people across Europe who owe their jobs to projects financed with the EFSI guarantee.

    Or you might describe EFSI’s legacy with a map of Europe. There are EFSI deals from Las Palmas in Spain’s Canary Islands, where the EFSI guarantee backed EIB financing for new, cleaner buses, to Estonia in the north, where EFSI guaranteed finance for Skeleton Technologies’s research into energy storage super capacitors. The map might even take you to outer space with the EFSI-backed investment in OHB, the Bremen-based company developing electric satellites.

    You can tell it as the story of a human life, starting with EFSI-backed financing for Jennewein Biotechnologie’s production of baby formula with the same natural sugars as breast milk, and Science4You, which makes educational toys in Portugal. Take the tale on through school projects like our backing for a Finnish public school public-private partnership right on to the battle to stay the hand of death with an investment in a PPP to build primary healthcare centres in Ireland. Or the story of a business’s lifetime with some of the startups and young companies financed with the backing of the EFSI guarantee, like Winnow, a firm developing artificial intelligence tools to cut food waste at its research centre in Romania.

    Or tell it from small to big, with a family metal-moulding firm in western Germany financed by the European Investment Fund with the EFSI guarantee, up to European Investment Bank deals with giants like Ericsson, Telefonica and Deutsche Telecom for their work on 5G infrastructure.

    Then there are projects to finance electric car charging stations in Italy. Digitalising traditional businesses in Spain. Researching high-performance seeds for crops that resist pathogens in France. Constructing medical facilities in the Netherlands. All these ways to illustrate the EFSI legacy look to the future of a Europe with an innovative, sustainable economy.

    These different EFSI stories are written from the same script, in which scarce public resources are used expertly to build jobs and growth for EU citizens. The legacy of EFSI will be in the livelihoods it supports—and the lessons learned by policymakers as they confront the next crisis.