Today and tomorrow, the Commission is hosting a new pan-European matchmaking event to accelerate and upscale the development and production of COVID-19 therapeutics in the EU, bringing together over 250 participants throughout the value chain from 25 Member States and other countries. The matchmaking event also aims to enhance the participation of companies in EU value chains for COVID-19 therapeutics, speed up connection between organisations and companies and help in production planning. The event, which takes place today and tomorrow, was kicked off by opening speeches of EU Commissioners Thierry Breton and Stella Kyriakides.
Commissioner Kyriakides, responsible for Health and Food Safety, said:
“The EU is making good progress on vaccination with 50% of adults now fully vaccinated. But vaccines are not our only response to COVID-19. With the spread of variants and the resurgence of cases across the EU in recent weeks, the development of therapeutics is more necessary than ever. I am encouraging companies to step forward and join forces to develop and produce COVID-19 therapeutics in the EU. Through our EU Therapeutics Strategy, we have already identified the first five most promising therapeutics with the target to authorise three new treatments by October 2021. With the support of events such as the one today, we may soon have many more.”
Commissioner Breton, responsible for the Internal Market said:
“We have reached a milestone in the EU in our fight against the pandemic: Europe has now produced and delivered enough doses to vaccinate 70% of our adult population. The EU has also become the world’s biggest producer of mRNA vaccines. This would not have been possible without new partnerships across the industrial ecosystem. We now want to forge new collaborations to ensure that Europe also leads the way in developing new life-saving COVID-19 treatments.”
The event is a step in implementing the Commission’s strategy on COVID-19 therapeutics adopted in May 2021. The event will focus on the development and production of both new and repurposed medicines to treat COVID-19 in all stages of the disease; especially building on the recently published list of five promising candidate therapeutics. It follows a first successful matchmaking event in March 2021, which focused on mobilising COVID-19 vaccine producers in the whole value chain.
In the context of that matchmaking event, in order to facilitate the matchmaking, the Commission had issued a comfort letter (based on the Antitrust Temporary Framework adopted by the Commission on 8 April 2020) providing guidance on how the matchmaking and exchanges between participating companies, including direct competitors, can take place in compliance with the EU competition rules. The same principles continue to apply also for this matchmaking event.
The event is organised by the Commission’s Task Force for industrial scale-up of COVID-19 vaccines and therapeutics, in close cooperation with the European Cluster Collaboration Platform and in partnership with the Council of European BioRegions (CEBR) and the European Cluster Alliance (ECA). More information about the event is available on the event’s website.