The European Innovation Council’s Accelerator programme is supporting the Estonian company Genecode with €16 million for the development of a drug candidate to slow the progression of Parkinson’s disease.
The grant allocated to Genecode is divided into a research grant of €1.7 million, supplemented by €14.3 million in equity investments. This is the largest grant amount that an Estonian company has received from the European Innovation Council’s Accelerator to date.
Genecode is an Estonian-American private equity-based drug development company, focusing on the development of disease-modifying drugs to fight neurodegeneration. The company was founded in 1998 in Estonia.
The company has also received several grants in the past. In 2022, they received a €2 million grant from Enterprise Estonia. In 2021, a nearly €3 million research and option agreement was signed with Argobio – a French startup studio that aims to turn innovative, early-stage medical projects from recognised European academic research institutions into successful biotechnology companies, focusing on rare diseases, neurological diseases, oncology and immunology.
Slowing down the progression of the disease
“While existing Parkinson’s disease drugs and treatment methods only alleviate symptoms, the treatment method being developed by Genecode and Argobio can actually slow down the progression of the widespread disease,” the CEO of Genecode, Paavo Pilv, said.
Parkinson’s disease affects more than 10 million people worldwide. “If we can contribute to improving the quality of life of people affected by the disease through our treatment, it will be a great achievement,” a supervisory board member of Genecode, Mart Saarma, added, noting that several researchers from the Universities of Tartu and Helsinki are also contributing to this effort daily.
The aim of the European Innovation Council’s Accelerator is to support small and medium-sized entrepreneurs in the development and launch of technology and knowledge-intensive solutions.
For the second application round of the European Innovation Council Accelerator on 22 March of this year, 551 companies submitted a full application, of which 51 companies from 17 countries were awarded grants.