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European Commission and biopharmaceutical industry lay out steps to improve business environment for sector SMEs

Date

03 Dec 2009

Sections

Health & Consumers

Brussels, December 1st, 2009: EBE, the European Biopharmaceutical Enterprises and the European Commission’s Enterprise and Industry Directorate General today jointly presented a workshop on access to finance for small and medium-sized biopharmaceutical companies in Europe. The workshop is a major step forward in finding new solutions to support and underpin at-risk European biopharmaceutical SMEs, which have been hit hard by the economic challenges of the global financial crisis. The workshop marked the release of a Commission-funded study on the financing of biopharmaceutical product development in Europe. The study highlights the decreasing levels of venture capital available for biopharmaceutical SMEs, as well as the impact of the global economic crisis on access to liquidities and credit.

Emmanuel Chantelot, Executive Director of EBE, said; “This represents an excellent example of timely and productive cooperation between industry and the Commission. This sector faces challenging times, and it is to the Commission’s credit that they have recognized the nature of the problem and are acting with the industry to solve it effectively.” Giulia Del Brenna, head of the Commission’s Competitiveness unit for Pharmaceuticals and Biotechnology added: “We have a responsibility to ensure that Europe’s knowledge economy – especially the biopharmaceutical sector - weathers the current economic climate, and we will act to ensure adequate support.”

The study demonstrated that traditional sources of funds are now looking for lower risk/reward ratio, making it increasingly difficult for SMEs to access venture capital or business loans. Of the large number of small and medium-sized biopharmaceutical enterprises recently surveyed some 40% will need access to capital within the year. The study authors made a number of key recommendations to restore stability to the sector. These include identifying and disseminating of best practice in technology transfer and commercialisation; making investments in early stage biopharmaceuticals more attractive via incentives to smaller investors through tax concessions and European and Member State public sector co-investment mechanisms. They also suggest establishing a European Biopharmaceutical Innovation Fund to increase availability and access to venture capital and create world-class expertise in investing in the sector.

The workshop attracted around 80 key stakeholders, including venture capitalists, biotech SME CEOs and national agencies. The workshop conclusions will provide the Commission with recommendations and input for policy measures to encourage both public and private parties to engage in a much-needed collective action plan. The European Investment Bank and European Investment Fund, also both in attendance, can use this experience to reflect on how best to adapt their mechanisms to better support companies financially in the life sciences industry in the future.

http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/sectors/biotechnology/documents/index_en.htm
To read more on the European Commission study performed by the Danish Technological Institute, click:
For more information on the workshop, click here: http://www.ebebiopharma.
org/index.php?option=com_news&task=category&id=2&Itemid=114

For more information, contact Emmanuel Chantelot, EBE Executive Director
Tel: +32 2 62 62 561 – E-mail: emmanuel@ebe-biopharma.org

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