Brussels, Belgium, 3 October 2019
The European Investment Bank (EIB) and Univercells S.A have signed a EUR 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. In funding Univercells, the EIB is aiming to promote the delivery of such vaccines, increasing their availability for diseases with high unmet medical needs.
The fight against infectious diseases is of high policy relevance for the European Union and for the EIB, its financing arm. While infectious diseases are already amongst the leading causes of death worldwide, the emergence of resistant pathogens is on the rise and anti-microbial 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 players in the field.
Univercells, a Belgian biotech company founded in 2013, is committed to acting on technology to deliver essential biologics at low costs, thereby promoting their dissemination in currently undersupplied regions. Univercells recently introduced its NevoLine biomanufacturing platform capable of delivering large quantities of vaccines at a fraction of the traditional cost. With the support of the EIB, the company will leverage the technology to pursue its mission and make four global health vaccines more available and affordable to all.