Luxembourg, 2 December 2015. The European Investment Bank (EIB) and Jennewein Biotechnologie GmbH, a German biotechnology company specialised in the production of functional sugars, today signed a loan agreement worth EUR 10 million. The loan, which is an equity-type transaction under the InnovFin scheme of the EU Bank, will allow the company to build a commercial scale production plant for complex sugars of the type that is only found in human breast milk. These sugars, which are also known as human milk oligosaccharides (HMOs), differ from simple sugars in that they have numerous health benefits: they reduce bacterial and viral infections, decrease the risk of allergies and inflammation, and promote brain development.
To date Jennewein is the only company capable of producing HMOs on a commercial scale and at reasonable costs. Given that HMOs are a main component of breast milk, Jennewein’s technological breakthrough is expected to considerably improve the quality of infant formulas. In addition, HMOs can be included in general food, dietary supplements and therapeutic nutrition products that are administered to support the treatment of certain diseases or high- risk patients.
“Supporting Research and Development in Europe is one of the EIB’s key goals. Loans to innovative midcaps like the one we signed today have the potential to drive Europe’s knowledge economy. We need to support companies that pursue innovation-intensive businesses and employ highly qualified people.” said EIB Group President Werner Hoyer.
Klaus Jennewein, Managing Director and founding member of Jennewein Biotechnologie said: “The financing of EIB is a key milestone in the development of Jennewein Biotechnologie allowing the pursuit of the company’s strategy to translate its established technological leadership into a leading market position as a supplier of functional saccharides for the food industry.”
About Jennewein Biotechnologie GmbH
Jennewein Biotechnologie is a company in the field of industrial biotechnology focusing on glycobiotechnology. It specialises in the development of new processes for the large-scale production of monosaccharides and oligosaccharides. Its main focus is the production of sugars
with health benefits for use in the food, pharmaceutical and cosmetic industry, most prominently human milk oligosaccharides. The company was founded in 2005 by Jennewein family members Amélie, Stefan and Klaus Jennewein and won several innovation awards in recent years. Its production facilities and other operations are based in Rheinbreitbach, Germany.
About InnovFin financial products
Under Horizon 2020, the new EU research programme for 2014-20, the European Commission and the European Investment Bank Group (EIB and EIF) have launched a new generation of financial instruments and advisory services to help innovative firms access finance more easily. Over the next seven years, “InnovFin – EU Finance for Innovators” will offer a range of tailored products which will make available more than EUR 24bn of financing support for research and innovation (R&I) by small, medium-sized and large companies and the promoters of research infrastructures. This finance is expected to support up to EUR 48bn of final R&I investments.
InnovFin builds on the success of the Risk-Sharing Finance Facility developed under the seventh EU framework programme for research and technological development (FP7), which financed 114 R&I projects to the tune of EUR 11.3bn and in addition provided loan guarantees worth over EUR 1.4bn.
Backed by funds set aside under Horizon 2020 and by the EIB Group, InnovFin financial products support R&I activities, which by their nature are riskier and harder to assess than traditional investments, and therefore often face difficulties in accessing finance. All are demand-driven instruments, with no prior allocations between sectors, countries or regions. Firms and other entities located in EU Member States and Horizon 2020 Associated Countries will be eligible as final beneficiaries. These debt instruments will be complemented in the near future by a suite of equity instruments managed by the EIF.
InnovFin MidCap Growth Finance offers long term senior, subordinated loans or mezzanine loans, in order to improve access to finance mainly for innovative larger midcaps (up to 3000 employees), but also SMEs and small midcaps. Loans from EUR 7.5m to EUR 25m will be delivered directly by the EIB.