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EIB | Health innovation: EU bank supports development of vascular calcification therapy

Vascular calcification is an ever-spreading health problem, with many potentially deadly implications and no specific medical treatment available yet. The European Investment Bank (EIB) aims to remedy this situation by providing a €20 million loan to Spanish biopharmaceutical company Sanifit, who is developing novel treatments in two disease indications linked to calcification.

The EIB is advancing funds for this research, development and innovation project through a venture debt operation under the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI). EFSI is the financial pillar of the Investment Plan for Europe, which supports private investment into operations that can increase Europe’s sustainable growth and competitiveness.

Sanifit will receive long-term finance to drive the development of treatments for progressive vascular calcification disorders. The Company, founded as a spin-off out of the University of the Balearic Islands, has developed SNF472, a selective and potent inhibitor of hydroxyapatite crystallisation, the final common pathway that leads to vascular calcification.

SNF472 is currently undergoing a phase 3 clinical trial for the treatment of calciphylaxis, a devastating rare disease blocking small blood vessels in skin and fat tissue due to severe calcification. This leads to the death of approximately 55% of patients within the first year of diagnosis. A second condition for which Sanifit plans to launch a phase 3 study in 2021 is peripheral arterial disease, a major driver of morbidity and death in end-stage kidney disease patients.

EIB Vice-President Emma Navarro, responsible for the Bank’s operations in Spain, highlighted the “positive impact of this operation on strengthening the competitiveness of the European biomedical industry, a sector requiring large-scale investment and tailored financing solutions.” She said: “We are delighted to help a leading Spanish company to develop new medical treatments for vascular calcification that will have clear benefits for human health and wellbeing. This agreement underscores the EIB’s commitment to supporting European innovation, which is now more vital than ever to promoting economic recovery and job creation.”

Dr Joan Perelló, Chief Executive Officer of Sanifit, commented: “The support of the EIB represents a significant endorsement of our technology and its potential to help patients suffering from debilitating conditions related to progressive vascular calcification. This is an extremely exciting time for Sanifit as we progress SNF472 through the clinic, and this further investment will be invaluable as we gather the late stage data required for approval, and to deliver treatment options to patients in need.”

Sanifit is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on treatments for vascular calcification disorders. The company has offices in Spain and the U.S. Its lead asset, SNF472, has successfully completed a phase 2 proof of concept study in calciphylaxis, and showed a significant reduction in the progression of coronary calcification in a phase 2b study among hemodialysis patients. Sanifit has raised approximately $130 million, including a Series D round of $61.8 million in mid-2019.

AUTHOR:

  • Matt Rees, Editor at the European Investment Bank

Compliments of the European Investment Bank – a member of the EACCNY.