EIB signs €40m loan agreement with Swedish biotech firm Oncopeptides
Each year, approximately 3 in every 10,000 people are diagnosed with multiple myeloma, for which there is no cure.
The European Investment Bank (EIB) has signed a €40 million (SEK 416m) loan agreement with Swedish biotech company Oncopeptides AB. The financing will support research, including phase 3 clinical studies of the lead candidate melflufen, and the expansion of the company. The EU bank's loan is backed by a guarantee from the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), the main pillar of the Investment Plan for Europe under which the EIB and the European Commission are working together as strategic partners, with the EIB's financing operations boosting the competitiveness of the European economy.
Each year, approximately 3 in every 10,000 people are diagnosed with multiple myeloma, for which there is no cure. Therefore, a key focus of treatment is extending and improving the quality of life for patients. Oncopeptides' Melflufen is a first in class peptide-drug conjugate (PDC) that targets aminopeptidases and rapidly releases alkylating agents into tumour cells. Melflufen is rapidly taken up by myeloma cells due to its high lipophilicity and is immediately hydrolyzed by peptidases to release an entrapped hydrophilic alkylator payload. A New Drug Application of Melfufen has been granted priority review by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, FDA, for treatment of patients with multiple myeloma. A target date for the review is set to February 28, 2021. Oncopeptides is currently conducting one clinical phase 3 study and six clinical phases 2 studies.
EIB Vice-President Thomas Östros noted: "This is the kind of project that the Investment Plan for Europe was set up to support. There is still a market gap when it comes to what is called "non-dilutive growth capital", allowing innovative, fast-growing EU-based SMEs to grow without giving up ownership of their ideas or company. This quasi-equity instrument allows us to support EU in-house knowledge and expertise to flourish, we're very happy to get behind yet another innovative Swedish company that has ground-breaking plans for the future."
"As the company is approaching potential commercialization of its lead product melflufen, several new financing options become available. The EIB facility is a flexible solution that can be drawn upon with limited dilution for the shareholders, which is highly valuable to the company in this transition phase. We are grateful for the support from the EIB and look forward to working together through the continued expansion of Oncopeptides", says Anders Martin-Löf, CFO of Oncopeptides.
European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, Mariya Gabriel, said: "Investment in research and innovation is crucial towards achieving our goal to beat cancer, contributing to the development of effective health and care tools for the prevention, early diagnosis and successful treatment of the disease. This is why we are setting up a mission to fight cancer as part of the future Horizon Europe programme. By joining efforts across Europe, we will ensure that more people will live without cancer in the future while increasing quality of life for those affected."