The European Investment Bank (EIB) has pledged up to €100m (£85m) in support of German mobility company Ottobock’s research and development programme.
The funds will be used over the next three years to drive product development efforts at the company.
Together with partners under the banner of the Investment Plan for Europe, or the Juncker Plan, EIB hopes the funds will help Ottobock innovate in its field. The fund is backed by a further guarantee from the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI).
The investors hope that particular focus will be given to prosthetics, orthotics and human mobility.
Since 1919 Ottobock has focused on med-tech for those with limited mobility. It has also supported the Paralympics since 1988.
Chief technological officer, Dr Andreas Goppelt, commented: “After 100 years of innovation such as the C-Leg – the first microprocessor-controlled knee joint – the C-Brace – a sensor-controlled clay orthosis – and our bebionic Hand prosthesis, we will experience further major breakthroughs for users in the coming years thanks to digitalisation and AI. The EIB’s support helps us a great deal in this respect.”
EIB vice president Ambroise Fayolle added: “Innovation is crucial to survive in this industry, hence high R&D and technology spending is essential.
“While large players can leverage synergies and achieve economies of scale within their R&D departments, niche players such as Ottobock are often challenged to allocate resources and accelerate the RDI to keep up with the competition.
“This is exactly where EIB comes into play. For us, the EU bank, it is a top priority to support investment that is geared towards innovation and greater competitiveness. This is part of our mission to foster sustainable growth and jobs in Europe.”