EIB loan: BIA Separations expands
Ljubljana – BIA Separations d.o.o., the Slovenian specialist for downstream processing of biologicals using monoliths, has received an EUR8m cash injection from the European Investment Bank (EIB). EIB president Philippe Maystadt and Dr. Aleš Štrancar, the company’s CEO, signed the loan agreement, making BIA the first European SME to receive a loan under the Risk Sharing Finance Facility (RSFF) scheme, a joint venture between the European Commission and EIB intended to improve access to debt financing for private companies. “We will put the money into the development of our new purification technologies for the biopharmaceutical industries and expand into a new 3000 m2 R&D and production facility,” BIA’s international marketing manager Gregor Krajnc told EuroBiotechNews. BIA’s methacrylate polymers can be used in short chromatographic resins and offer an improved separation capacity for large biological molecules such as pegylated proteins and antibodies compared to conventional chromatographic media. While production capacities for biologicals has expanded partly up to the 10g/l range, downstream processing has increasingly become a bottleneck in production processes. Conventional separation techniques suffer from limited mass transfer.
New biotech center
Additionally, the company laid the cornerstone for a new facility located in Ajdovšcina. With this expansion of its production capacity 50 kilometres west of the Slovenian capital Ljubljana, BIA Separations is moving into a high-technology oriented region where it will, in conjunction with University of Nova Gorica, establish a biotech incubator for the region. One of the roles the incubator will play is to help in the establisment of a biotechnology programme at the nearby university, thereby creating a pool of highly educated personnel for BIA Separations and other companies moving into the region, and meeting long-term human resources.