EIB and Univercells sign EUR 20m loan agreement for early vaccine delivery

The European Investment Bank (EIB) and Univercells SA have signed a € 20 million loan agreement to support the development of a portfolio of four essential and undersupplied vaccines to be delivered at an affordable price. The portfolio – including polio, measles, and rubella and rabies vaccines – requires significant investment in process development through clinical and regulatory validation. By funding Univercells, the EIB aims to promote the supply of these vaccines, increasing their availability for diseases with significant unmet medical needs.

The fight against infectious diseases is of great political importance for the European Union and for the EIB, its financial arm. While infectious diseases are already among the leading causes of death globally, the emergence of resistant pathogens is increasing and antimicrobial resistance is therefore expected to become the leading cause of death by the middle of this century. At the same time, there is little investment in drugs and vaccines to fight infectious diseases and a limited number of actors on the ground.

Univercells, a Belgian biotechnology company founded in 2013, is committed to acting on technology to provide essential biologics at low cost, thereby promoting their dissemination in currently undersupplied regions. Univercells recently introduced its NevoLine bioproduction platform capable of delivering large quantities of vaccines at a fraction of the traditional cost. With support from the EIB, the company will leverage technology to continue its mission of making four global health vaccines more available and affordable to all.

At the signing ceremony held in Brussels on October 3, EIB Managing Director Jean-Christophe Laloux said:

Supporting innovation is a key priority for the bank of the European Union, and helping innovative European SMEs and mid-cap companies to bridge the funding gap for their R&D is of the utmost importance. This funding, with its specific modalities adapted to the needs of the company, testifies to our desire to create optimal conditions for R&D, including in the field of pharmaceutical research. The fight against infectious diseases is high on our political agenda. These diseases represent a growing threat to humanity, but the field remains underinvested. It will be a major war and the battle has only just begun. We are proud to join Univercells and to be able to support their pioneering research into these essential vaccines and their efforts to make them available to countries with high needs. “

We are extremely happy to receive this support and support from the EIB. This funding demonstrates the European Union’s willingness to respond to important public health needs such as infectious diseases and its commitment to sponsor fast-growing innovative companies.

Hugues Bultot, CEO of Univercells

Carlos Moedas, European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, said:

Infectious diseases like polio, rabies, measles and rubella have serious consequences for human health. We need better solutions and I am happy that our financial instruments are contributing to the development of these new affordable vaccines. “

This EIB debt financing is supported by the “InnovFin – EU-finance for innovators” program, a joint initiative of the European Commission and the EIB Group funded by Horizon 2020, the EU’s research and innovation program. . More specifically, the “InnovFin – Infectious Diseases Finance Facility” (IDFF) aims to develop vaccines, drugs, innovative medical devices and new research infrastructures to fight infectious diseases. With this support from InnovFin IDFF, the EIB can provide long-term stable financing with a flexible repayment and interest structure, limiting the company’s cash outflows and thus allowing it to focus on investment. in innovation and growth. Univercells also benefited from InnovFin Advisory, one of the InnovFin tools, which identified the company as innovative and provided advice to improve its access to finance.

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