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  • Financing to support research and development pipeline of differentiated drug candidates.
  • The agreement is backed by the InvestEU programme, which aims to trigger more than €372 billion in additional investment over the period 2021-27.
  • The Danish company’s R&D pipeline includes drug candidates targeting obesity, rare diseases and chronic inflammation.

Danish biotechnology company Zealand Pharma A/S has signed a loan facility of €90 million with the European Investment Bank (EIB), the long-term lending institution of the European Union owned by the Member States. Zealand focuses on the discovery and development of innovative peptide-based medicines, and will use the EIB funding to advance its differentiated research and development pipeline of clinical-stage product candidates targeting obesity, rare diseases and chronic inflammation.

The project is made possible with the support of the InvestEU programme, which aims to mobilise over €372 billion in additional investment for EU policy priorities over the period 2021-2027.

“The EIB is committed to supporting European innovation where and when it can,” said EIB Vice-President Thomas Östros. “Zealand Pharma’s innovation can have important benefits for people suffering from a range of disorders which the company’s research and development efforts focus on, meaning that our support is also in line with our mission statement of improving people’s lives.”

European Commissioner for Economy Paolo Gentiloni said: “R&D activities and the development of innovative medicines require a substantial and sustained level of investment. It’s great to see that the InvestEU programme is contributing significantly to this effort, helping to ensure that Europe remains a leader in cutting-edge research and development of novel medicinal solutions, whilst focusing on the unmet medical needs of patients.”

“We are very pleased with the endorsement and support from the EIB for our investments in our R&D pipeline”, said Henriette Wennicke, Chief Financial Officer of Zealand Pharma. “This loan facility will further strengthen the financial position of Zealand Pharma, enabling us to invest in our differentiated obesity assets while better positioning us to secure commercial partnerships for our rare disease assets”.

The EIB is committed to supporting innovative companies in maintaining their European footprint and boosting their competitiveness. Zealand’s drug candidates focus on areas with significant unmet medical needs, including obesity, rare diseases and chronic inflammation, meaning that supporting the research and development can ultimately enable better medical care for people across the European Union and beyond.

Background information

The European Investment Bank finances sound investment to pursue EU policy goals. In 2022 alone, the EIB made over €800 million in financing available for projects in Denmark, including in the medical research and energy transition sectors.

The InvestEU programme provides the European Union with crucial long-term funding by leveraging substantial private and public funds in support of a sustainable recovery. It also helps mobilise private investments for EU policy priorities like the European Green Deal and the digital transition. The InvestEU programme brings together under one roof the multitude of EU financial instruments currently available to support investment in the European Union, making funding for investment projects in Europe simpler, more efficient and more flexible. The programme has three components: the InvestEU Fund, the InvestEU Advisory Hub and the InvestEU Portal. The InvestEU Fund is implemented through financial partners that will invest in projects using the EU budget guarantee of €26.2 billion. The entire budget guarantee will back the projects of the implementing partners, increasing their risk-bearing capacity and thus mobilising at least €372 billion in additional investment.

Zealand Pharma A/S (Nasdaq: ZEAL) ("Zealand") is a biotechnology company focused on the discovery and development of peptide-based medicines. More than ten drug candidates invented by Zealand have advanced into clinical development, of which two have reached the market and three candidates are in late-stage development. The company has development partnerships with a number of blue-chip pharma companies as well as commercial partnerships for its marketed products.

Founded in 1998, Zealand Pharma is headquartered in Copenhagen, Denmark. It also has a team in the United States.