Cambridge, UK and Seoul, South Korea: Avacta Group plc (AIM: AVCT), the developer of Affimer® biotherapeutics and reagents and LG Chem Life Sciences, the life sciences division of the South Korean LG Group, today announced a multi-target collaboration and development agreement. The agreement provides LG Chem with the exclusive rights to develop and commercialise, on a worldwide basis, multiple Affimer® therapeutics intended for treatment of patients in the fields of inflammatory disorders, and oncology. Under the terms of the agreement, Avacta will generate and carry out the discovery, optimisation and protein engineering of Affimer® drug candidates against a set of undisclosed targets. LG Chem and Avacta will collaborate to progress these candidates through to drug candidate selection and LG Chem will be responsible for preclinical and clinical development and world-wide marketing of any resulting products.
Additionally, the agreement provides that Avacta and LG Chem will collaborate jointly in the development of two different Affimer® PK/ADME modifiers – Affimers that can be fused to other therapeutic proteins to modify certain properties of those biological drug moieties such as serum half-life and tissue localization. Both parties will have the right to develop PK/ADME modified products, and by exercise of an option, to take exclusive responsibility for the development, manufacture and commercialisation of those products.
This multi-target therapeutics development agreement provides upfront and near-term milestone payments, plus longer-term clinical development milestones. Avacta will also receive royalties on any future product sales and LG Chem will cover Avacta’s costs of research and development associated with the collaboration. Avacta may receive additional option fees and milestone payments should LG Chem elect to exercise their options for additional targets.
The Affimer technology is Avacta’s proprietary alternative to antibodies with wide applications in the life sciences for drug development, diagnostics and research tools. Avacta’s in-house therapeutic pipeline is focused on immuno-oncology and it expects to advance its lead programme, a PD-L1/LAG3 bispecific into the clinic in 2020 whilst building out its pipeline of innovative Affimer drug candidates.
Alastair Smith, Chief Executive of Avacta Group commented:
“I am delighted to be entering into this therapeutic development partnership with LG Chem which is a strong validation of the potential of the Affimer® platform.
“This alliance is an exciting opportunity, not only to work with a partner who has first class biologics manufacturing and clinical development capabilities, but who also has a pioneering vision to develop innovative therapies.
“This landmark agreement with LG Chem reflects the substantial progress that we have made in developing the Affimer® technology as a therapeutic platform and I look forward to updating the market on future progress and other partnerships.”
Dr. Jeewoong Son, President of LG Chem Life Sciences commented:
”We are very pleased to announce collaboration with Avacta Group. Utilizing Avacta’s Affimer® technology – a novel non-antibody protein format overcoming limitations of classical antibody-based therapy – and LG Chem’s biologics capability in development and manufacturing, it will take us to the next level of treatment paradigm and to open up a new horizon in biologics therapeutic strategies. I believe, this innovative collaboration will deliver value to patients and will transform patients’ lives.”