Immunethep, a Portuguese biotech startup, has been selected by the European Innovation Council (EIC) to receive funding from its EIC Accelerator program.
Immunethep will receive initially a €2.5 million ($2.5 million) grant and is eligible for additional equity investment from the EIC Fund for a project with a total investment of €17.5 million ($17.1 million).
The funding aims to advance its paragon novel vaccine (PNV) to first-in-human clinical trials to assess safety, immunogenicity, and early efficacy.
A 2019 study published by The Lancet estimates that 4.95 million people worldwide died from illnesses in which antimicrobial resistance (AMR) played a part. Of those, 1.27 million deaths were the direct result of AMR. If no significant changes occur in the way new drugs are developed to address this, in 2050 AMR will be the largest cause of death in the world, surpassing cancer.
Immunethep is one of the 75 startups selected in this EIC Accelerator cut-off among more than 1,000 applications from all over Europe.
The 75 selected companies will together receive close to €400 million of funding in a combination of grants and equity investments. The equity investments will be made through the EIC Fund which is now fully operational. The selected companies have a wide geographical spread, spanning 21 countries. The most recent cut-off round for EIC Accelerator applications closed on October 5, with another 1,092 companies submitting full proposals.
Immunethep is a biotechnology company founded in 2013 that is developing anti-bacterial immunotherapies to tackle antimicrobial resistance. Its approach is based on the discovery of a virulence mechanism that is shared by the most relevant bacteria that cause the most life-threatening infections.
Immunethep’s IP portfolio of granted patents covers the discovered mechanism and potential applications, and has a pipeline of two main products addressing five different bacteria with alternative strategies.
PNV is a preventive vaccine, ready for first-in-human clinical trials, while UNImAb is a therapeutic approach using antibodies as an alternative to antibiotics. It is in the development phase with some milestones already achieved.
The EIC was established by the European Commission under the EU Horizon Europe program. It has a budget of €10.1 billion ($9.88 billion) to support innovations throughout the lifecycle from early-stage research to proof of concept, technology transfer, and the financing and scaleup of startups and SMEs.
It provides funding for individual companies (mainly startups and SMEs) through both grants and investments. The investments currently take the form of direct equity or quasi-equity investments and are managed by the EIC Fund.
The EIC Accelerator offers start-ups and SMEs grants of up to €2.5 million ($2.5 million) combined with equity investments through the EIC Fund ranging from €500,000 to €15 million ($489,000 to $14.7 million) or more. In addition to financial support, all projects benefit from a range of business acceleration services.