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The European Investment Bank (EIB), the world’s largest multilateral bank, today reaffirmed its firm commitment to respond to the Ebola pandemic. The Bank has provided a EUR 50 million loan to Bavarian Nordic, an international biopharmaceutical company, for accelerated development of an Ebola vaccine with long-term efficacy. The financing is also backing research into vaccines for treating other infectious diseases and multiple cancer indications.

EIB Vice-President Jonathan Taylor stated: “We are pleased to be partnering with Bavarian Nordic in this breakthrough operation, as it enables the EU bank to address the high unmet medical need caused by a pandemic such as Ebola. The European Investment Bank sends a clear signal that the international community cannot abandon West Africa at this time of need and must continue to demonstrate firm engagement. We are also delighted that we are supporting the first market entry of a European company into the cancer treatment vaccine arena. Projects such as this strengthen the competitiveness and boost the innovative capacity of European health-related industries and businesses.”

President and CEO of Bavarian Nordic Paul Chaplin stated: “The rapid development and manufacture of an Ebola vaccine would not be possible without public investment, and we are thankful for the commitment from the EIB to help us in our endeavour to provide an effective vaccine in response to current and future epidemics. The EIB loan provides financial flexibility for our company to advance the development of novel vaccine candidates utilising our modern technology, MVA-BN®, a robust and adaptable vaccine platform suitable for addressing a wide variety of infectious diseases and cancers.”

Bavarian Nordic’s research activities supported by the EIB include the pre-clinical and clinical development of several novel vaccines in the infectious disease and oncology areas. EIB finance will also back the production of the batch materials needed to conduct the clinical trials. These are particularly relevant for the Ebola vaccine, as the manufacture of two million doses is necessary for the second phase of the clinical trials.

Pre-clinical trials of the Ebola vaccine with the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) have shown 100% protection against the highly virulent Ebola Zaire strain, which is responsible for the recent outbreak. The European Investment Bank is strongly committed to tackling the Ebola crisis in West Africa through the provision of much-needed finance. Along with others, the Bank provided a loan of nearly EUR 20 million to support upgrading of the runway and safety equipment at Monrovia airport, a key gateway for aid workers and humanitarian assistance in Liberia.

The prostate cancer vaccine (PROSTVAC®) is Bavarian Nordic’s leading targeted immunotherapy candidate. It has the potential to revolutionise prostate cancer therapy, as it demonstrated in the clinical trials a higher efficacy and, more importantly, lower side effects than other treatments such as chemotherapy. These encouraging results have led to the signature of a lucrative licensing agreement providing for the payment of significant milestones for having access to this vaccine on an exclusive basis.

Pharmaceutical research into and the clinical development of new therapeutics, including vaccines and diagnostics, are one of the most costly and risky areas of knowledge creation. Through its research, development and innovation activities, Bavarian Nordic will contribute to the competitive search for and generation of new pharmaceutical knowledge in Europe in areas that are crucial for the improvement of its citizens' health. As the project will be implemented in the company’s facilities in Denmark and Germany, opportunities for the skilled workforce in these countries will be safeguarded and new opportunities created. This EIB operation is supported by the new generation of financial instruments for innovative and growth companies “InnovFin – EU Finance for Innovators”, with the financial backing of the European Union under Horizon 2020. The “InnovFin Large Project” facility is specifically dedicated to improving access to risk finance for research and innovation projects originating from larger firms in the European Union.

Background information:

About EIB

The European Investment Bank (EIB) is the long-term lending institution of the European Union and is owned by the EU Member States. It makes long-term finance available for sound investment in order to contribute towards EU policy goals. In 2014, the EIB lent EUR 875m for Danish projects, an increase of 35% compared to the 2013 lending volume (EUR 650m). The focus of the Bank’s lending over the last five years has been on projects promoting research, development and innovation in the industrial sector. 

About Bavarian Nordic

Bavarian Nordic is a biopharmaceutical company focused on the development and manufacture of cancer immunotherapies and vaccines for infectious diseases. The company has developed a portfolio of biological countermeasures, including the non-replicating smallpox vaccine IMVAMUNE®, which is stockpiled for emergency use by the US and other governments. The smallpox vaccine is approved in Europe under the name of IMVANEX as well as in Canada. Bavarian Nordic and its partner Janssen are pioneering the development of an Ebola vaccine, which has been fast-tracked by the authorities in response to the current situation in West Africa. Bavarian Nordic has also developed a portfolio of active cancer immunotherapies based on its versatile pox virus-based technologies, including PROSTVAC®, which is currently in Phase 3 clinical development for the treatment of advanced prostate cancer. For more information visit www.bavarian-nordic.com.

About InnovFin financial products

Under Horizon 2020, the new EU research programme for 2014-20, the European Commission and European Investment Bank Group (EIB and EIF) have launched a new generation of financial instruments and advisory services to help innovative firms access finance more easily. Over the next seven years, "InnovFin – EU Finance for Innovators" will offer a range of tailored products that will make available more than EUR 24bn of financial support for research and innovation (R&I) by small, medium-sized and large companies and the promoters of research infrastructure. This finance is expected to support up to EUR 48bn of final R&I investments.

InnovFin builds on the success of the Risk-Sharing Finance Facility developed under the seventh EU framework programme for research and technological development (FP7), which financed 114 R&I projects to the tune of EUR 11.3bn and also provided loan guarantees worth over EUR 1.4bn.

Backed by funds earmarked under Horizon 2020 and by the EIB Group, InnovFin financial products support R&I activities, which by their nature are riskier and harder to assess than traditional investments and therefore often face difficulties in gaining access to finance. All are demand-driven instruments, with no prior allocations between sectors, countries or regions. Firms and other entities located in EU Member States and Horizon 2020 Associated Countries will be eligible as final beneficiaries. These debt instruments will be complemented in the near future by a suite of equity instruments managed by the EIF.

InnovFin Large Projects aims to improve access to risk finance for R&I projects emanating from larger firms, universities and public research organisations, R&I infrastructure (including innovation-enabling infrastructure), public-private partnerships and special-purpose vehicles or projects (including those promoting first-of-a-kind, commercial-scale industrial demonstration projects). Loans and guarantees from EUR 25m to EUR 300m will be provided directly by the EIB.