Avacta Group plc (AIM: AVCT), a life sciences company developing innovative, targeted oncology drugs and powerful diagnostics, is pleased to announce that a second milestone equity payment has been triggered resulting in an increase in Avacta’s shareholding in AffyXell Therapeutics (“AffyXell”), a joint venture to develop next-generation cell therapies between Avacta and Daewoong Pharmaceutical (“Daewoong”) in South Korea.
Avacta has successfully developed and characterised Affimer® proteins against the second target of interest for AffyXell and has filed a patent application for the associated intellectual property triggering the second milestone. The second milestone will result in an increase in Avacta’s shareholding in AffyXell, which currently stands at 19%. The exact shareholding will be determined, as with the first milestone payment which was achieved in April 2022, following a formal valuation of AffyXell.
AffyXell was established in January 2020 by Avacta and Daewoong as a joint venture to develop novel mesenchymal stem cell (“MSC”) therapies. AffyXell is combining Avacta’s Affimer® platform with Daewoong’s MSC platform such that the stem cells are genetically modified to produce and secrete therapeutic Affimer® proteins with immuno-modulatory effects in situ in the patient. The Affimer® proteins are designed to enhance the therapeutic effects of the MSC creating a novel, next generation cell therapy platform.
Dr Alastair Smith, Chief Executive Officer of Avacta Group, commented:
“We are delighted that such rapid progress has been made with the second target in our joint venture in South Korea. There is great potential for AffyXell’s novel, engineered mesenchymal stem cell platform incorporating Avacta’s Affimer® technology to deliver significant improvements to the standard of care for patients with serious diseases.
“We continue to work closely with our colleagues at AffyXell and Daewoong to advance this cutting edge therapeutic platform.”