The European Investment Bank (EIB) will grant a €20m loan to support a new treatment being developed by Irish company Amryt Pharma for skin disorders.

Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB) is a rare and inherited skin disorder that causes the skin to become fragile.

Amryt Pharma recently secured a US patent for the use of Episalvan in the treatment of EB.

The EB treatment market in the US and Europe is estimated to be worth around €1.5bn per year.

EIB vice-president Andrew McDowell said: “Continued investment in innovation is crucial to improve lives and build on European strengths to develop world leading pharmaceutical products.

“The European Investment Bank is pleased to support innovation and development of new treatment of painful skin disorders by Amryt Pharma.

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“Continued investment in innovation is crucial to improve lives and build on European strengths to develop world leading pharmaceutical products.”

EIB’s facility provides non-dilutive funding that secures the company’s near and mid-term funding needs for its product, Episalvan.

Amryt Pharma CEO Joe Wiley said: “This €20m facility with the European Investment Bank is a significant milestone for Amryt and represents a material endorsement of our potential from a leading European investment body.

“The facility also enables us to progress our acromegaly drug compound, AP 102, as well as consider other licensing opportunities as part of our ongoing strategy to acquire, develop and commercialise products for rare and orphan diseases.”

Amryt has submitted its protocol for the pivotal Phase III study for Episalvan to demonstrate its safety for the treatment of EB.

The first patient enrolment is set to start in the first quarter of next year, with commercial launch expected in 2019.

The loan is supported by the InnovFin – EU Finance for Innovators’ Midcap Growth Finance programme, with the financial support of the European Union under Horizon 2020 Financial Instruments.