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    Reference: 20200423
    Release date: 22 March 2021

    Promoter – Financial Intermediary

    UNIVERCELLS SA

    Location

    Description

    The project concerns investments into an innovative and versatile vaccine manufacturing facility as well as process development and manufacturing scale up activities to enable the production of large volumes of prophylactic vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 as well as in co-development of a pipeline of COVID-19 vaccines.

    Additionality and Impact

    The financing of this project addresses the failure in financial markets for RDI - in this specific case in biopharmaceuticals. The failure arises in part from limited access to and/or higher cost of financing due to information asymmetries associated with the inherent uncertainty of RDI activities, and resulting in high screening and monitoring costs. Other factors are the misalignment of incentives, lack of collateral and/or lack of track record.
    Through support from the Infectious Diseases Finance Facility (IDFF), the operation addresses the need of a financially underserved company operating in the sector of development COVID-19 vaccines and therapeutics, as well as boosting the European manufacturing volumes and capacities. The contribution to EU policy is therefore significant.
    The EIB's contribution is notable on both the financial and non-financial side. The funding provided under IDFF will substantially enhance the financial resources available to the borrower to execute its development plan and may crowd in further investors. Structuring the financing as a venture debt operation (equity risk) is appropriate given the borrower's stage of development and takes its cash flow profile into account. Therefore, the EIB also provides an added value in terms of financial structuring expertise, in addition to the technical contribution and advice.

    Objectives

    The project concerns investments into an innovative and versatile vaccine manufacturing facility as well as process development and manufacturing scale up activities to enable the production of large volumes of prophylactic vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 as well as in co-development of a pipeline of COVID-19 vaccines.

    Sector(s)

    Proposed EIB finance (Approximate amount)

    EUR 30 million

    Total cost (Approximate amount)

    EUR 60 million

    Environmental aspects

    The project mainly concerns investments in research, development and innovation (RDI) that are expected to be carried out in the Promoter's existing facilities or other research centres already authorised for the same purpose and would therefore not require an environmental impact assessment (EIA) under the Directive 2014/52/EU amending the EIA Directive 2011/92/EU. Investments are also expected to be made into the furnishing and validation of an existing manufacturing facility, this aspect of the project falls under the annex II of the EIA directive (2014/52/EU), referring to the manufacture of pharmaceutical products. Full environmental details will be verified during appraisal, including evidence of any screening by the competent authorities.

    Procurement

    The Promoter is a private company, not operating in the utilities sector and does not have the status of a contracting authority; thus the project is not covered by the EU directives on procurement. However, the Promoter's procurement procedures are expected to be in line with EIB guidelines for private sector projects. Details will be assessed during the project's due diligence.

    Status

    Signed - 24/06/2021

    Disclaimer

    Before financing approval by the Board of Directors, and before loan signature, projects are under appraisal and negotiation. The data provided on this page is therefore indicative and cannot be considered to represent official EIB policy (see also the Explanatory notes).

    Related tags

    Belgium Industry