The European Investment Bank (EIB) will grant financing of up to 50 million euros to IBA (Ion Beam Applications S.A.) for its current research and development projects in the fields of cancer diagnosis and therapy. Philippe Maystadt, President of the EIB visited today the R&D center of IBA in Louvain-la-Neuve and at this occasion, together with Pierre Mottet, Chief Executive Officer of IBA, they signed the loan contract.

Aligned with the objective of the European Union to establish a competitive knowledge-based economy and the policy of the EIB to finance research and innovation as a priority, this funding will support the IBA R&D programme. It will be conducted between 2010 and 2013 and will comprise research, development, clinical trials and regulatory approvals related to the development of new products and to optimising and further developing existing products and equipment for the diagnosis and treatment of cancer.

Most of the activities financed by the loan will be carried out in the IBA R&D centres in Louvain-la-Neuve and Fleurus (Belgium), in Schwarzenbruck (Germany), Saclay (France) and to a lesser extent in Dulles (USA). The total amount considered is EUR 117.9 million to be financed up to EUR 50 million through the EIB/European Commission’s Risk-Sharing Finance Facility” (see note below).

More specifically, the EIB loan will cover R&D areas such as:

  • Molecular Imaging: new development for radio-isotopes and marked molecules;
  • Particle Therapy: new equipment and software to treat cancer.
  • Dosimetry: new radiation measurement devices and software for diagnostic and therapy;

“Technological innovation is an essential component of IBA’s products”, said Pierre Mottet, CEO of IBA. “This loan will contribute to develop leading-edge technologies for even more precise solutions in diagnosing and treating diseases”.

EIB President Philippe Maystadt stressed “how crucial it is – especially now in times of crisis – to stimulate long-term investment in those areas that will contribute to economic recovery and benefit to this generation as well as to future generations. It is also important to support RDI (Research, Development and Innovation) projects with tailor-made financial products such as the Risk Sharing Finance Facility for Research”. He added: “IBA has paved the way as a key contributor in the fields of advanced cancer diagnosis and therapy; we are pleased to support IBA in its development by strengthening its strategy”.

Note to the Editors:

About Molecular Imaging
Molecular imaging is an emerging field which aims to visualize non-invasively biological processes in vivo. The ability to image disease-related biological processes may allow to detect disease early, characterize it better and to personalize treatment by real-time monitoring of its therapeutic effect.
Molecular imaging depends on special molecules (probes) that can selectively target these biological processes, while carrying an imaging agent for visualization, such as Fluor 18F other positron emitting radio-isotopes that can be visualized by positron emission tomography (PET).

About Proton Therapy
Proton therapy is increasingly considered as the ultimate radiotherapy for cancer due to its superior dose distribution. Protons deposit the majority of their effective energy within a precisely controlled range, directly within the tumor, and better spare healthy surrounding tissue. Higher doses can be delivered to the tumor without increasing the risks of side effects and long term complications, improving outcomes and quality of life for patients. Unfortunately, very few patients can yet benefit from this type of treatment around the world.

About Dosimetry
Dosimetry encompasses services and equipment to control radiation dosage in medical settings. IBA’s specialized dosimetry products are essential tools for quality assurance in radiation therapy (therapeutic dosimetry) and medical imaging (diagnostic dosimetry).

About the EIB and RSFF
The European Investment Bank (EIB) is the long-term lending arm of the European Union, and is wholly owned by the 27 EU member states. Its mission is to support through its activities the development of EU policies. It does this mainly by providing loans from funds raised on capital markets on favorable terms thanks to its AAA credit rating. The Bank permanently adapts its activity to developments in EU policy and contributes chiefly to economic and social cohesion, environmental protection, research and innovation, support for SMEs, the development of trans-European transport and energy networks and the promotion of secure, competitive and sustainable energy supplies. Every year, it makes available finance totalling some EUR 50bn in support of projects located in the EU.

The Risk Sharing Finance Facility (RSFF) is a joint EIB and European Commission initiative which supports the development of research, development and innovation (RDI) projects by improving access to debt financing and creating additional funding capacity for the sector. The facility, which was launched in 2007, directly promotes the EU’s objective of making Europe the world’s most competitive, knowledge-driven economy.

RSFF is funded jointly by the EIB and the EU’s Seventh Research Framework Programme and will cover the financial risks associated with RDI projects worth up to EUR 10bn. In the facility’s first two years of operation, the EIB has concluded contracts totalling EUR 3bn for RDI projects from a wide range of sectors, notably renewable energy, automotive research and biotechnology.

About IBA
IBA develops and markets leading edge technologies, pharmaceuticals and tailor-made solutions for healthcare with a focus on cancer diagnosis and therapy. Leveraging on its scientific expertise, IBA is also active in the field of industrial sterilization and ionization.

Listed on the pan-European stock exchange EURONEXT, IBA is included in the BelMid Index. (IBA: Reuters IBAB.BR and Bloomberg IBAB.BB).