Today, the Commission and the European Investment Bank announce the creation of HERA Invest, a €100 million top-up to the InvestEU programme, to support research and development (R&D) in the most pressing cross-border health threats, financed by the EU4Health programme. Currently, European companies find it difficult to access sufficient public and private funding for the development and scaling up of cutting-edge solutions in health and life sciences. Innovation is needed to respond to priority health threats such as pathogens with high pandemic potential or resistance to antibiotics.
HERA Invest, a flagship initiative of the European Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Authority, will focus on health emergency prevention and preparedness, helping address these challenges by:
- promoting R&D in Europe to strengthen strategic autonomy;
- reducing market failures, where financial resources do not cover the financing needs;
- leveraging public funding to incentivise private investment;
- creating new medical countermeasures to protect against health threats.
How does HERA Invest work?
The HERA Invest funding instrument is geared towards small and mid-sized companies (SMEs) that develop medical countermeasures addressing one of the following health threats:
- pathogens with pandemic or epidemic potential;
- chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear threats originating from accidental or deliberate release;
- antimicrobial resistance.
Under HERA Invest, the European Investment Bank (EIB) will provide venture loans, covering a maximum of 50% of total project costs. There is a rolling application process. The EIB assesses whether an operation is eligible based on defined criteria and the project's commercial and scientific viability.
The Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Authority (HERA)'s mission is to prevent, detect, and rapidly respond to health emergencies. HERA was established in September 2021 to replace ad hoc solutions to pandemic management and response with a permanent structure with adequate tools and resources to plan ahead the EU action in case of health emergencies. A core goal of HERA is to ensure the development, manufacturing, procurement, and equitable distribution of key medical countermeasures to address any possible gap in its availability and accessibility.
The establishment of HERA Invest is one the five flagship initiatives of HERA, as outlined in the HERA Work Plan 2023, and it addresses market challenges and failures and boosts the Union's open strategic autonomy.
HERA, together with the Member States, identified three specific high impact health threats to ensure preparedness and response, by addressing possible gaps in the availability and accessibility of medical countermeasures (MCMs).
The identification of the key threats to our health security launched the process to ensure the development, production capacity and scaling-up of manufacturing, procurement and potential stockpiling of medicinal products, diagnostics, medical devices, and personal protective equipment as well as other medical countermeasures to ensure their availability and accessibility in case of need. HERA will ensure that investments are continuously directed towards safeguarding public health and health security in terms of availability of medical countermeasures.
The European Investment Bank (EIB): the EIB is jointly owned by the 27 EU Member States. Through its lending, blending and advisory activities, it seeks to boost Europe's potential in terms of jobs and growth, support action to adapt to and mitigate climate change and promote EU policies outside the EU. Between 2015 and 2020, the EIB was the implementing partner of the European Fund for Strategic Investments and manager of the European Investment Advisory Hub, the main pillars of the Investment Plan for Europe. As of 2021 it is one of the implementing partners of InvestEU.
The InvestEU programme provides the EU with long-term funding by leveraging private and public funds in support of EU policy priorities. As part of the programme, the InvestEU Fund is implemented through financial partners who will invest in projects using the EU budget guarantee and thus mobilising at least €372 billion in additional investment.
With HERA Invest, we are investing €100 million in advancing research and development to design new innovative medical countermeasures to step up our preparedness for future health threats. Together with the European Investment Bank, HERA Invest will attract additional private and public investment and provide European companies with the certainty needed to invest in ground-breaking innovation to address priority health threats. This is a clear example of a strong European Health Union in action to better protect the health of our citizens.
Stella Kyriakides, Commissioner for Health and Food Safety - 12/07/2023
COVID 19 made it painfully clear that we must address the weaknesses in our health systems, HERA Invest will help us do exactly that. It will support companies that develop promising new ways to shield us from unpredictable health threats like pandemics or known challenges like antibiotic resistance. This support is crucial to keep Europe at the forefront of innovation, and it might well save millions of lives around the planet when a new health emergency hits.
Vice-President of the European Investment Bank, Thomas Östros - 12/07/2023
- Publication date
- 12 July 2023 (Last updated on: 12 July 2023)
- Representation in Cyprus