The European Investment Bank (EIB) and BiondVax Pharmaceuticals Ltd., developer of the Universal Flu Vaccine candidate M-001, announced that they have entered into a €20 million loan agreement.
BiondVax’s M-001 vaccine candidate, consisting of nine widely conserved flu epitopes, is designed to protect against current and future, seasonal and pandemic flu strains. Clinical and pre-clinical trials have shown that M-001 is safe and immunogenic and that it has the capacity to enhance and broaden coverage of current flu vaccines. The vaccine candidate has been tested in a Phase IIb clinical trial in collaboration with UNISEC, which is funded by the EU under the 7th Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development.
Carlos Moedas, European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation said, "A healthier population is a major priority for the EU, and preventing and treating the flu is becoming more and more important with the ageing of the European population. As the virus rapidly changes, we need to develop new ways to combat the disease. This €20 million loan agreement will help develop a more universal vaccine, effective in preventing a range of different types of flu."
Mr. Othmar Karas, Member of the European Parliament and EPP-Shadow Rapporteur for the extension of the European Fund for Strategic Investments in the Parliament's Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs, commented, “Joint investments in the future build strong bridges between nations. It is a strength of Europe’s innovation system to cooperate with the best innovators in our neighbourhood. We are glad to see today’s announcement as an important initiative for fostering innovation between the European Union and our Mediterranean neighbours.”
“Supporting innovation is a key priority for the European Union’s Bank”, said EIB Vice-President Mr. Ambroise Fayolle. “This new financing shows our strong willingness to create optimal conditions for this clinical research and bring it to a successful conclusion. The EIB is proud to be supporting BiondVax with regard to its high expertise and pioneering research on such a universal flu vaccine. We hope that this innovative financing will contribute to improve the prevention of disease.”
The technology behind BiondVax’s universal flu vaccine candidate was conceptualized in the lab of Professor Ruth Arnon at the Weizmann Institute of Science.
Dr. Ron Babecoff, CEO of BiondVax, commented, “We now have the resources to launch Phase 3 trials and set-up a mid-sized commercial manufacturing plant. The EIB’s funding is a monumental step forward for BiondVax towards bringing M-001 to the market. We are proud and honored that the EIB and the European Commission chose to collaborate with BiondVax in the development of our universal flu vaccine. Together with the support of Israel’s Ministry of Economy, we are closer than ever to accomplishing our mission of marketing the first universal flu vaccine for the benefit of people worldwide.”
“It has been a pleasure working with the EIB team towards this collaboration, and I wish to thank them for their support and interest. We also greatly appreciate the assistance of Mr. Holm Keller and his team at kENUP for facilitating this financing,” continued Babecoff.
The finance contract between BiondVax and the EIB has been facilitated by kENUP, a civic society organization promoting innovative industries in Europe. kENUP Chairman Mr. Holm Keller noted that, “The State of Israel’s substantive and smart investments in fundamental research are an important catalyst for establishing globally leading industries in Europe. We are proud to be a liaison between the relevant European institutions and Israel’s leading research institutions.”