Avacta Group plc (AIM: AVCT), the developer of Affimer® biotherapeutics and reagents, is today holding its Annual General Meeting at 10.00 am GMT. In conjunction with this meeting the Company is pleased to provide a business update ahead of its results for the six months ending 31 January 2018, which the Company expects to announce on Monday, 16 April 2017.
- Strong progress with in-house programmes:
- Lead PD-L1 programme: on-track to deliver several key pre-clinical milestones in 2018.
- Discovery programme is delivering a pipeline of Affimer molecules for potential immuno-oncology combinations with PD-L1 and for other oncology applications.
- Excellent pharmacokinetic data obtained in mouse for Affimer XT™ half-life extension platform.
- Continued platform validation and de-risking through completion of a number of in-vitro data packages.
- Solid progress with partners:
- Positive outcome of initial trial with Glythera Ltd. leading to a new drug development partnership for Affimer drug conjugates.
- Research collaboration with FIT Biotech Oy established to demonstrate effectiveness of the combined technologies for gene delivered Affimer therapeutics: data expected in Q2.
- Characterising multiple lead molecules in research partnership with Moderna addressing several drug targets.
- Continuing collaboration with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center CAR-T on proof-of-concept study.
- Experienced, Boston based Vice President Therapeutics Business Development appointed.
Affimer Research and Diagnostics Reagents
- Focus on licensing opportunities in pharma, biotech, diagnostic and research markets: progress with multiple third party technology evaluations in each of these markets that should lead to further licensing deals in 2018.
- Reagents business development team established in US with personnel on both the east (Philadelphia) and west coasts (San Diego).
- Very strong growth in public validations of Affimer technology by third parties:
- Record period for publication of third party peer reviewed scientific papers using Affimers including articles in very high quality journals such as Nature, Molecular Cell and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA.
- Covance presents Affimer data at international conference concerning Affimers that recognize certain antibody idiotypes helping to generate a number of custom Affimer reagent projects with large pharma in this application.
- Heptares provided a testimonial for use in business development meetings regarding their experience of using Affimers with GPCR, an important class of drug target.
- Substantial progress in generating applications data packs (affinity separation, immunoassays) and in developing new applications, such as immunohistochemistry, to support marketing efforts.
- Half year revenue, operating losses and cash balances in line with market forecasts.
The presentation to shareholders at today’s AGM will be available on www.avacta.com.
Dr Alastair Smith, Avacta Group Chief Executive Officer, commented:
“I am very pleased with the continued strong technical and commercial progress across the business. We have continued to grow the number and extent of the data packages demonstrating the power of the Affimer technology in therapeutic and non-therapeutic applications which build the commercial case and de-risk the technology for third parties.
It is particularly important to see that the rate of Affimer end-user publications is growing and commercial partners, such as Covance, are speaking publicly about their successful Affimer projects. These are powerful marketing tools as we build awareness of the Affimer platform.
I presented the Affimer technology and our recent progress at the JP Morgan conference in San Francisco last week. We met with over twenty five biotech and pharmaceutical companies to discuss the benefits of the Affimer technology and potential partnerships. Some of these have already followed up indicating their interest in further discussions.
I look forward to keeping the market updated on the fruits of these discussions during 2018 and to updating the market in detail at the time of the interim results statement in mid-April.”