The European Investment Bank (EIB) has agreed to lend up to EUR 10 million to Scope Fluidics, a Polish medical technology company developing innovative products in the field of medical diagnostics. Scope Fluidics uses microfluidic technologies (involving the manipulation of small quantities of test samples within a disposable diagnostic cartridge) and focuses on rapid characterization of antibiotic resistance of bacteria and on ultra-fast detection of bacterial and viral pathogens (including COVID-19).
The EIB financing will support the company’s efforts to develop new, efficient and affordable methods for detection of pathogens causing infectious diseases, including COVID-19. Apart from striving to aid the fight with COVID-19 pandemic, Scope Fluidics’ team is also focused on the Antimicrobial Resistance (“AMR”), which is one of the gravest threats to global health. Testing a broader range of infectious diseases may significantly increase the standard of care and the effectiveness of prevention of complications in the evolving pandemic.
By sustaining the company’s further clinical trials that will allow the commercial launch of the system, the EIB helps address a market gap in available financing options for innovative players active in developing new vaccines and drugs, innovative medical and diagnostic devices or novel research infrastructure for combatting infectious diseases (ID). The project has also the potential to foster growth in this sector and create new jobs in Poland and in the EU for highly skilled people and in the field of research and development.
The financing comes from a joint European Commission and EIB initiative – the Infectious Diseases Finance Facility (IDFF) – backed by the Horizon 2020, the EU Research and Innovation programme 2014-2020. It will be the first project in Poland under the IDFF. To date, 14 operations have been signed in Europe under IDFF for a total amount of EUR 372m.
The agreement was signed today in Warsaw by prof. Teresa Czerwińska, EIB Vice-President, who oversees operations in Poland, and prof. Piotr Garstecki, co-founder and chairman of the Board at Scope Fluidics.
“I am delighted to sign today the first EIB loan to a Polish company under the Infectious Diseases Financing Facility, which is part of the European InnovFin programme”, said prof. Teresa Czerwińska. “By investing in this project, the Bank will provide a relevant contribution to the scientific advancement in the field of diagnostic equipment for infectious diseases, including COVID-19. This has the potential to unlock new paradigms for disease diagnostics and antimicrobial resistance.” Teresa Czerwińska added: “This operation timely follows the agreement last week with the Ministry of Finance for a EUR 650 million EIB loan to help the government fight against COVID-19. As the EU bank, we think it is important to support Poland’s efforts against the pandemic at all levels”.
“The Scope Fluidics team has created a modern PCR|ONE system that detects dangerous bacteria and viruses in a breakthrough time of 15 minutes. Our recent efforts focused on the rapid detection of the Covid-19 virus have given the PCR|ONE project an additional importance and business dimension – in line with the global effort to combat the pandemic. Today’s agreement with the EIB is a great joy for us – our goal is to change modern medical diagnostics into faster, more informative and accessible, in order to gain a real impact on improving the quality and effectiveness of modern medicine. On behalf of the entire Scope Fluidics team, I would like to thank EIB for the trust of such an experienced institution” – says prof. Piotr Garstecki, CEO of Scope Fluidics. “EIB will be an important partner for us, with extensive experience in financing European lifescience ventures, including companies from the molecular diagnostics industry. The agreement concluded today aims to support the commercialization of the systems we develop, including increasing the intensity of activities in the PCR|ONE project’s Early Access Program. We have joined the group of companies such as Stat-Dx, Curetis and Mobidiag, which have also obtained similar funding from EIB in recent years” – adds Prof. Piotr Garstecki.
Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, said: “Diagnostic tests are essential to enable front-line health workers to make the diagnosis quickly and accurately, as well as to reduce the risk of further spread of viruses, including the coronavirus. This is a very important element of the Coronavirus Global Response strategy. With this loan to Scope Fluidics the EU is making one step closer to finding solutions to fight the coronavirus pandemic. I am also very pleased that, through the Infectious Diseases Finance Facility, we are supporting for the first time a company based in Poland to carry out this very promising project.”