The European Investment Bank (EIB) and German biotech firm BioNTech said they concluded a €100 million debt financing agreement for the EIB to support the development of BNT162, which is BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine programme.
“The deal will also allow the company to expand its manufacturing capacity in order to supply the vaccine fast worldwide in response to the pandemic,” said the European Commission.
“This will be done at the company’s own risk while the clinical studies are ongoing.
“BioNTech became the first European company to enter clinical testing, having started a clinical trial in Germany in April and a further clinical trial in the United States at the beginning of May.”
BioNTech’s development programme for BNT162 is one of the broadest development programmes globally, with four vaccine candidates being tested in parallel.
Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, said: “As part of our efforts to counter the spread of the coronavirus, we have embarked decisively on the worldwide race to find an effective and safe vaccine as quickly as possible.
“For this purpose we recently launched the Coronavirus Global Response initiative, while at the same time we mobilised significant funding through Horizon 2020 for research projects aimed at developing a prophylactic and a therapeutic vaccine.
“I am very pleased that today, together with the European Investment Bank, we are extending our support to BioNTech, which is yet another concrete step towards our goal of getting a vaccine and ensuring access to it for all.”
BioNTech chief financial officer Sierk Poetting said: “The investments we have made to develop our vaccine platform over the past 12 years have been instrumental in enabling us to develop our COVID-19 vaccine programme rapidly in response to the global health crisis.
“This funding commitment by the EIB will further support the next stage of our COVID-19 scale-up activities as we expand our production capacity to enable global supply.”