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EU bank backs company developing novel Covid treatment


Investment bank announces €25 million loan for ExeVir to support research and clinical development

The EU’s investment bank is supporting a company developing a therapy intended to prevent people with compromised immune systems from catching Covid-19.

The European Investment Bank announced on 9 January that it would loan €25 million to the Belgium biotech firm ExeVir to help it undertake clinical trials of the potential therapy, currently referred to as XVR012.

“This investment will undoubtedly strengthen Belgium’s and the EU’s position in the innovative Covid-19 therapeutics market, as well as in pandemic preparedness,” the EIB said.

XVR012 uses antibodies to target the Covid-19 virus in a way the EIB said might be able to block infection in people with compromised immune systems, who are insufficiently protected by existing vaccines and treatments.

The treatment is being developed for submission to regulators later this year, the EIB said, and is designed to minimise the risk of viral mutations reducing its effectiveness.

In addition to Covid-19 therapeutics, ExeVir—a spin out of the Belgian research institute VIB—is hoping to develop therapies for other infectious disease, including dengue.

“The EIB financing will thus be of a high added value to ExeVir as it will provide stable, long-term and non-dilutive capital to support ExeVir’s R&D activities and clinical development,” the bank said.

The money is coming from a fund set up under the EU’s 2014-20 R&D programme, Horizon 2020, called InnovFin.

According to the EIB, the fund “has enabled us to build momentum in the all-important biotech, medical and health sectors and help create a truly European ecosystem in which innovation flourishes, and focused R&D can generate real benefits for our economies and, ultimately, our citizens”.