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How EFSI benefits SMEs in Europe - Sowalfin case study: KiOmed Pharma (Belgium), pharmaceutical company

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KiOmed Pharma, a spin-off company of the University of Liège, specialises in the delivery of cutting-edge technologies in the sector of medical devices.

At the moment, Houtaï Choumane, the company’s CEO, and his team are creating a new medical gel, based on a molecule called ‘chitosan’. Houtaï has set up a two-year investment project to develop this innovative and ambitious technology. The gel is expected to be used for intra-articular injections, which are administrated into a joint to alleviate arthritis pain. Its aim is to restore the natural properties of the affected joint and delay replacement surgery as much as possible.

Houtaï explains that “studies have shown that 12 to 15% of the population suffers from arthritis. There is of course an existing product range, but it has limitations in terms of effectiveness. Our aim is to offer not only a better clinical solution, but also to propose a product that would only have to be injected once every six months to be effective, which is very efficient compared to the frequency with which products currently on the market need to be injected. We have already demonstrated through animal clinical trials that our product does indeed obtain better results.”

Two years ago, Houtaï was surrounded by a team of just 5-6 people as the project was entering the phase of clinical trials. As the project grew, there was a pressing need to expand the team. In order to hire additional staff and to finance further research, development and production efforts, Houtaï secured a loan guaranteed through the Walloon regional guarantee institution Sowalfin and backed by EIF under the Investment Plan for Europe, the EU initiative aiming at generating new investments in Europe through the support of small and medium-sized enterprises.

Thanks to this support from the Investment Plan for Europe, Houtaï was able to hire ten additional employees and press ahead with the development of innovative solutions to tackle long-standing health problems.

Company: KiOmed Pharma (Belgium)
Type of business: environmental monitoring systems
Financial intermediary: Sowalfin
EIF financing: InnovFin SMEG, EFSI

For further information about EIF intermediaries in Belgium, please refer to: http://www.eif.org/what_we_do/where/be

 

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