BioVersys receives €20 Million EU Financing to develop new antibiotics

pharmafile | April 14, 2021 | News story | Research and Development EU 

The European Investment Bank (EIB) and BioVersys AG, a clinical-stage pharmaceutical company, have today announced the signing of a €20 million venture debt transaction that will support the company’s research and development of a pipeline of drugs that address antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

The venture debt loan is financed under the Infectious Diseases Finance Facility set up as part of Horizon 2020, the European Union’s research and innovation programme for 2014-2020. BioVersys will receive the EIB loan in three tranches upon the completion of pre-defined milestones.

AMR has resulted in the majority of our antimicrobial therapies becoming obsolete, thereby leaving the world’s population vulnerable to an increasing range of infections, with the possibility of a bacterial pandemic already widely recognised as a potential threat.

Thomas Östros, EIB Vice-President, said: “There have been no new classes of antibiotics on the market for decades. This comes at an enormous cost for people and our societies at large.

“If we do not manage to curb AMR, it will not only kill thousands of people every year, but it will also drive millions into poverty. I am therefore very pleased that the EIB can contribute to the financing of a company that might hold the key to alleviating some of the most pressing health issues we currently face.”

BioVersys has several drugs in the pipeline aimed at targeting AMR, including a hospital antibiotic therapy that targets one of the WHO’s top priority pathogens, resistant Acinetobacter baumannii.

The drug is being studied for the treatment of ventilator-associated bacterial pneumonia, which is common in COVID-19 patients. Currently, there are little to no effective and safe treatment options for this infection. Due to antibiotic resistance, infections caused by resistant Acinetobacter baumannii have a mortality rate of greater than 50%.

Marc Gitzinger, CEO and founder of BioVersys, said: “Being the first Swiss biotech company to receive a venture loan from the EIB is an independent validation of the relevance and quality of the BioVersys product pipeline.

“AMR has been widely recognised as the top priority health threat by the WHO, G7 and G20. BioVersys develops novel drugs addressing some of the most serious infections caused by drug resistant bacteria. The funds from the EIB, together with our recent Series B closing of CHF 19 million, enable us to push our clinical development programmes forward and further strengthen the company as the leading European private biotech AMR player.”

Some 700,000 people die each year due to drug resistant diseases, and according to the WHO this figure could rise to 10 million by 2050 if no action is taken.

Kat Jenkins

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