Patients who suffer from the most aggressive type of brain cancer, glioblastoma, will soon have broader access to a new form of treatment thanks to financing by the European Investment Bank (EIB). The EIB and German medical device company MagForce signed a financing agreement which will allow the company to borrow up to €35 million over the coming three years, subject to achieving a set of agreed performance criteria.
The transaction with MagForce was made possible by the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI). EFSI is the central pillar of the Investment Plan for Europe, in which the EIB Group and the European Commission as strategic partners aim to boost the competitiveness of the European economy.
MagForce has developed NanoTherm therapy, a new approach to the local treatment of solid tumours. The method is based on the principle of introducing magnetic nanoparticles directly into a tumour and then heating them in an alternating magnetic field. Depending on the duration of treatment and the temperatures achieved within the tumour, the tumour cells are either irreparably damaged or sensitised for additional chemo or radiotherapy.
This approach makes it possible to combat the tumour from within, while sparing surrounding healthy tissue. The side effects of the treatment are significantly lower than those in the standard methods currently used. In addition, the NanoTherm therapy displays a high degree of efficacy proven in clinical studies. It received regulatory approval for brain cancer in Europe, and patients are already successfully treated in Germany.
EIB financing will support NanoTherm’s Europe-wide roll-out for brain cancer treatment. Furthermore, the facility will support European and global approval for prostate cancer – another oncological condition, which can be treated with NanoTherm therapy. In addition, MagForce is working on next generation nanoparticles, which will not only be able to generate heat but can also be used as drug transport mechanisms.
“More than 20 million people worldwide are expected to live with cancer in the year 2030 – a 50% increase from the levels of 2012,” said Ambroise Fayolle, Vice-President of the EIB and responsible for operations in Germany. “The therapy developed by MagForce has the potential to considerably ease the burden for some of those patients, and I am proud that EIB backing will actually help save people’s lives. The EU bank provides long-term and stable capital support to the company’s R&D which will enable MagForce to accelerate the market launch of new treatments. It’s this type of support for innovative companies that is crucial to strengthening Europe’s competitiveness.”
Ben Lipps, Chief Executive Officer of MagForce, commented: “We are honored that MagForce is backed by the European Fund for Strategic Investments. The loan will significantly enhance our financial standing and help us to roll-out MagForce’s NanoTherm therapy across Europe. It will also support the development and global commercialisation of prostate cancer solutions and MagForce's next generation NanoTherm.”
European Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen, responsible for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, said: "The European Commission is committed to promoting investment in research and innovation. I am delighted that, with today's agreement, the Plan is contributing to the development of sophisticated new treatments for cancer patients. This is a very tangible example of the powerful impact EU support for investments can bring about."
About the EIB
The EIB is the long-term lending institution of the EU. It is owned by and represents the interests of the European Union countries. The Bank makes long-term finance available for sound investment in order to contribute towards EU policy goals. The EIB works closely with other EU institutions to implement EU policy.
Founded in 1997 and based in Berlin, MagForce AG is a pioneer in the field of nanomedicine focused on oncology.Its objective is to establish a novel cancer therapy alongside conventional treatment methods such as surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. The company’s proprietary NanoTherm therapy enables the targeted treatment of solid tumours via heat generated directly in the tumour and activated through superparamagnetic nanoparticles. MagForce was the first company in the world to receive European approval for a medical product using nanoparticles. It has 26 employees, plus a production company with another 14 staff.
The Investment Plan for Europe
The Investment Plan for Europe, the so-called Juncker Plan, is one of European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker's top priorities. It focuses on boosting European investments to create jobs and growth by making smarter use of new and existing financial resources, removing obstacles to investment and providing visibility and technical assistance to investment projects.
The European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) is the central pillar of the Investment Plan. It, allows the EIB to invest in more, often riskier, projects. EFSI is already showing concrete results. The projects and agreements approved for financing under EFSI so far are expected to mobilise €225bn in total investments and support some 445 000 SMEs across all 28 Member States.
The latest EFSI figures by sector and by country are available here