The European Investment Bank (EIB) will grant financing to UCB, the Belgian biopharmaceutical company, of up to €250 million, for its research and development programme in the therapeutic fields of severe disorders of the central nervous system (CNS). A €150 million contract was signed and the additional amount of €100 million will be available in 2013.
The major indications targeted by UCB with the financed programme are epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, restless legs syndrome (RLS) and diabetic neuropathic pain (DNP). It is aiming at developing innovative new medicines that will help patients to lead normal everyday lives.
EIB’s long term loan to UCB will contribute to the diversification of the company’s lending portfolio at times when such sources are both necessary and scarce. It will help to further develop UCB’s diversified pipeline of new drugs with several products in late stages and to identify new candidate drugs for entering clinical trials; it will strengthen the company’s European RDI activities.
As the bank of the European Union, the EIB finances investment supporting the implementation of EU strategic priorities. As such, it has been financing investment in research, development and innovation (R-D-I), as it is a pillar of the knowledge economy.
Pim van Ballekom, EIB Vice-President responsible for operations in Belgium said: “We are proud to be able to support UCB in this innovative and competitive strategy. Boosting R-D-I and standing by European companies is a priority for the EIB. Innovation is a key element for Europe in a global competition, to help secure competitiveness and jobs in the future and achieve sustainable growth”, “Also, making a positive difference to people’s lives is a driving force underlying our activity. This project – to develop new drugs for patients suffering of illnesses of the central nervous system – is an excellent example”.
The EIB fully aligned with the EU objective to establish a knowledge-based economy in the EU, has allocated €65 billion over the last 5 years for projects in this frame; €35 billion of which to support R-D-I programs.
The UCB R&D program is financed under the Risk Sharing Finance Facility (RSFF), set up jointly by the European Commission and the EIB to facilitate access to borrowing in the fields of research, technological development, demonstration and innovation and to create additional funding capacity in these areas.