€20m EU loan to fund BiondVax Phase III flu vaccine trial

Ron Babkov

The Israeli company is developing a universal flu vaccination.

BiondVax Pharmaceuticals Ltd. (Nasdaq: BVXV; (TASE:BVXV), which is developing a universal vaccine for all strains of influenza, today announced the signing of an agreement with the European Investment Bank (EIB) for a €20 million ($22 million) loan. The money will be used to fund a Phase III trial (a multi-center effectiveness trial) for BiondVax's product. The company has been ready for the trial for several years already, but did not start it because of a lack of money, among other reasons. The company's share price jumped 2.25% on the news today, boosting its market cap to NIS 123 million.

The EIB is the European Union's (EU) long-term lending institution, which offers long-term financing for investments that contribute to EU policy goals. Its support for development of the BiondVax vaccine was part of the Horizon 2020 initiative, the EU's research program, in which Israeli is also participating. The loan is being granted in the InnovFin Infectious Diseases framework, designed for budgeting high-risk infectious disease projects.

BiondVax has conducted Phase II trials, which showed that its vaccine is safe, and that combining it with a seasonal vaccine can extend the seasonal vaccine's coverage. The company previously stated that it was likely to enter the market with its product as improving the seasonal vaccine, but its long-term vision is to offer a single vaccine that will offer protection against influenza for many years.

Ruth Arnon developed, Nacht invested

The EU previously funded a BiondVax Phase IIb trial as part of its Seventh Framework Programme for technological research and development.

BiondVax CEO Dr. Ron Babecoff said, "We now have the resources required to launch Phase III clinical trials, and to set up a medium-sized plant for commercial production. The EIB's financing is therefore a huge step forward for BiondVax on the way to bringing the M-001 vaccine to market."

BiondVax was founded by Babecoff, who acquired the technology on which the company's product is based from the Weizmann Institute of Science, where it was developed by Professor Ruth Arnon, one of the developers of Copaxone, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd.'s (NYSE: TEVA; TASE: TEVA) drug for treatment of multiple sclerosis. Several months ago, BiondVax obtained an investment from aMoon Partners, a company controlled by Check Point Software Technologies Ltd. (Nasdaq: CHKP) cofounder Marius Nacht. aMoon now has a 19% stake in BiondVax, making it the sole significant shareholder in the company.

BiondVax Pharmaceuticals Ltd is represented by Adv .Ilan Gerzi ana Adv. Tammy Hevrony Zoppo from the Pearl Cohen law firm.

Published by Globes [online], Israel Business News - www.globes-online.com - on June 19, 2017

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2017

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