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BioVersys gets €20m EIB loan to develop novel antibiotics

Swiss BioVersys has received €20mfrom the European Investment Bank to push the development of new drugs against life-threatening nosocomial infections.

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. The financing supports the development of drugs that address antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

BioVersys’ antibioticcandidate drug BV100  targets therapy-resistant  Acinetobacter baumannii, one of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) top priority pathogens. The drug is being studied for the treatment of ventilator-associated bacterial pneumonia, which is also common in COVID-19 patients. Currently, there is a high medical need for effective and safe treatment options for this infection. Due to AMR, infections caused by resistant Acinetobacter baumannii have a mortality rate of more than 50%.

Furthermore, BioVersys will push its pipeline candidate  BVL-GSK098, a small molecule which is being tested for multi-drug resistant tuberculosis infections, one of the top ten killers globally, with 1.5 million deaths annually.

Both BV100 and BVL-GSK098 are currently undergoing Phase 1 clinical trials. “There have been no new classes of antibiotics on the market for decades,” said EIB Vice-President Thomas Östros. “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.” Being the first Swiss biotech company to receive a venture loan from the EIB is percieved by Bioversys as an independent validation of the relevance and quality of the company’s product pipeline.

“The funds from the EIB, together with our recent Series B closing of CHF19m, enable us to push our clinical development programmes forward,” said Marc Gitzinger, CEO and founder of BioVersys. Since the discovery of penicillin, antibiotics have become the cornerstone of modern medicine. Antibiotic resistance poses a severe threat to the continued efficacy of these essential drugs. Traditional industry players such as large pharmaceutical companies have left the AMR space and it is now for specialised biotech companies like BioVersys to innovate and create novel products for these high unmet medical needs.