EU Malaria Fund starts operations

Its major contributor is the InnovFin EU programme, funded by EU Horizon 2020

Photo: EU Mariya Gabriel.

A €70m EU Malaria Fund, which aims to bridge the gap between molecule and market for feasible and affordable innovative solutions to prevent and treat malaria, was inaugurated on Wednesday at an online ceremony. This marks the start of its operation.

The European Commission and the EIB are investing an initial €64m into the fund, and additional €6m is being provided by various national and private investors, including Investitionsbank Berlin (IBB) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The fund is a public-private partnership between the EU, International organisations, corporations, and organised civic society.

The major contributor to the Fund is the InnovFin EU programme funded by EU Horizon 2020 and jointly managed by the Commission and the EIB. Part of the project is supported by the European Fund of Strategic Investments, the financial pillar of the Investment Plan for Europe. In this initiative, the EIB and the European Commission partner to mobilise €500bn in the European economy.

We are joining forces with other investors to protect health and save lives, Mariya Gabriel, EU Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, said adding that the new EU Malaria Fund is working with a total EU contribution of more than €110m to boost research efforts and speed up market solutions against this preventable and deadly disease. This is an example of how key global players can come together to fight infectious diseases such as malaria and bring health technologies to those who need them most, the commissioner added.

Malaria is the world’s current most deadly infectious diseases and to fight it is more urgent than ever, stated Ambroise Fayolle, EIB Vice-President in charge of health. He also noted that progress has largely stalled in recent years, resistance to traditional drugs is on the rise, and new treatments are often costly. It is high time that we joined forces with public and private actors in and outside the EU to tackle the problem, EIB VP said noting that if it can increase the number of ways to help prevent or cure malaria, “our fund could be a life-saver for hundreds of thousands of people every year”.

Berlin has established itself as a hub for medical science throughout Europe in recent years and so it is only right that we take part in this effort to tackle this disease and we’re looking forward to working closely with our partners to find innovative solutions to prevent and treat malaria in the future, said Dr Jürgen Allerkamp, Chairman of the Board, Investitionsbank Berlin.

This is a decisive instrument that may yield important results and could potentially be leveraged in other disease areas where there is a similar underlying market failure, remarked Holm Keller, Executive Chairman of kENUP Foundation and Co-Managing Director of the EU Malaria Fund.

The EU Malaria Fund is expected to bundle investments of €150m and the instrument will finance companies through venture debt. The two first investments earmarked by the fund are expected to go to Italian AchilleS Vaccines and to Austrian Themis Bioscience GmbH.


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