The European Commission's Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Authority (HERA) supports projects that strengthen preparedness and response capacities in the field of health.
Cross-border health threats posed by pathogens with high pandemic potential, chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear threats (CBRN), and antimicrobial resistance (AMR) require a constant and active investment into adequate defensive measures at EU and global level. A core goal of HERA is to ensure that funding is channelled into projects to develop and reinforce these countermeasures, building towards a robust and agile European health security.
Funding opportunities are available under the Horizon Europe programme, the EU4Health programme (including HERA Invest) and rescEU. HERA proposes funding of medical countermeasures on the basis of intelligence gathering and analysis of data coming from different sources.
Funding of medical countermeasures
HERA supports the development, manufacturing, procurement, and equitable distribution of vaccines, therapeutics, and other medical products and technologies in case of need, helping Member States and industry close gaps in the availability and accessibility of key medical countermeasures (MCMs) through multiple programmes.
The EU4Health programme was adopted as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic and to reinforce crisis preparedness in the EU. It contributes to the mission of HERA by:
- strengthening prevention, preparedness and response to cross-border health threats;
- complementing national stockpiling of essential crisis-relevant products;
- supporting development, availability and access to medicinal products, medical devices and crisis-relevant products;
- reinforcing health data, digital tools and services;
- supporting international health initiatives and cooperation.
Activities under EU4Health programme can be implemented through grants, procurement and indirect management. HERA has a budget of approximately EUR 2.8 billion under EU4Health for the period 2022-2027.
Horizon Europe is the EU’s key funding programme for research and innovation. The programme facilitates collaboration and strengthens the impact of research and innovation in developing, supporting, and implementing EU policies while tackling global challenges, including pandemic preparedness and health security. Horizon Europe supports the mission of HERA by:
- advancing to research projects aimed at understanding pathogens’ characteristics and behaviours;
- developing innovative vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics;
- advancing research on climate change-related health threats as well as antimicrobial resistance by funding research that explores new antimicrobial compounds, diagnostic tools, and alternative treatments.
Activities under Horizon Europe are usually implemented through grants. HERA has a budget of approximately EUR 1.7 billion earmarked under Horizon Europe for the period 2022-2027.
The European Commission upgraded the EU Civil Protection Mechanism and created rescEU to further protect citizens from disasters and manage emerging risks.
rescEU includes a stockpile of medical items and field hospitals that can respond to health emergencies, andalso shelters, transport and logistics assets and energy supply items. Reserves are also being developed to respond to chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) risks. These include decontamination and detection, as well as reserves of CBRN medical countermeasures.
HERA has a budget of approximately EUR 1.2 million earmarked under rescEU for the period 2022-2027.
HERA Invest is a financing mechanism to promote advanced research and development of medical countermeasures and related technologies for tackling priority cross-border health threats. This is one of the five flagship initiatives outlined in the HERA Work Plan 2023.
HERA Invest is the first European health investment instrument to specialise in the area and fills a vital gap in the field with EUR 100 million to support innovative SMEs with loans in the early and late phases of clinical trials.
HERA Invest aims to reduce market failures and to support the work of European companies to enhance the open strategic autonomy of the Union. It does this by:
- leveraging public funding to incentivise private investment in developing new protections against health threats;
- emphasising high-risk market areas where the need for financing is significant but the supply is low.
By making it easier and safer for private companies to invest in the market, HERA Invest will ensure that financing is channelled towards projects that strengthen the availability and accessibility of medical countermeasures, improving our common health security.
How does it work?
HERA Invest forms part of the InvestEU programme to support sustainable investment, innovation, and job creation in Europe. It targets innovative SMEs in the early and late phases of clinical trials.
HERA Invest is open for application to companies developing medical countermeasures that address one of the following cross-border health threats:
- Pathogens with pandemic or epidemic potential
- Chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) threats originating from accidental or deliberate release
- Antimicrobial resistance (AMR)
Under HERA Invest, the EIB, on behalf of HERA, will provide successful applicants with non-dilutive venture loans covering up to 50% of investment costs.
To be eligible, companies must already have raised equity from professional investors. In addition, they need a suitable business model, plan, and solid corporate governance. Individual financing typically starts at EUR 7.5 million.
Applications for HERA Invest are open on a rolling basis, with the EIB assessing each proposal based on strict eligibility criteria and the commercial and scientific viability of the project.
Interested companies can inquire with the EIB or DG HERA directly at HERA-INVESTec [dot] europa [dot] eu (HERA-INVEST[at]ec[dot]europa[dot]eu).