Avacta to Present Customer Data at Major US Conference

Avacta’s Chief Technology Officer will showcase a range of new applications including data generated in collaboration with Covance


Avacta Group plc (AIM: AVCT), the developer of Affimer® biotherapeutics and reagents, is pleased to announce that the Group’s Chief Technology Officer, Dr Matt Johnson, will be presenting at the Annual Biomarkers & Precision Medicine Congress in San Diego, 9th-11th October.

Dr Johnson will be presenting new Affimer applications including data from a collaboration with Covance, part of LabCorp, one of the world’s largest contract research organisations.  These data demonstrate a high performance Affimer assay to detect and quantify the breast cancer drug Trastuzumab, showing good sensitivity and increased assay dynamic range compared to current existing antibody based assays in a type of assay that is very widely utilised in the biopharmaceutical industry opening up a significant new commercial opportunity.

In addition Dr Johnson will be showcasing new Affimers that improve the detection of clostridium difficile infection, one of the major hospital borne infections.  There are hundreds of thousands of c. difficile cases annually in the United States alone resulting in tens of thousands of deaths and the incidence of the infection is increasing globally.  Current antibody tests fall short in performance which means that a second confirmatory lab test needs to be performed.  The data to be presented by Dr Johnson show how the use of an Affimer, replacing an antibody in a marketed diagnostic kit, significantly improves the performance of the test.  This potentially removes the need for the time consuming and expensive confirmatory test and therefore represents a significant technical improvement and commercial opportunity.

Laboratory Corporation of America® Holdings (“Lab Corp”) (NYSE: LH), an S&P 500 company with a market capitalisation of $15bn and 50,000 employees in over 60 countries, provides comprehensive clinical laboratory and end-to-end drug development services. Covance, which became part of Lab Corp in 2015, worked on all of the top 50 best-selling drugs available today through provision of non-clinical, clinical and commercialization services with annual sales of $2.84bn in 2016.

Dr Alastair Smith, Avacta Group Chief Executive Officer, commented:
“We are continually generating powerful data showing the benefits of Affimers and how, in many cases, they outperform the gold standard antibody technology to support our business development efforts.

I am particularly delighted to be presenting data from the collaboration with Covance showing how well Affimer reagents are working in an important and widespread application.  This opens up a new application area for Avacta to exploit commercially and is yet another strong validation of the Affimer technology.” 

For further information from Avacta Group plc, please contact:
Avacta Group plc
Alastair Smith, Chief Executive Officer
Tony Gardiner, Chief Financial Officer
Tel:  +44 (0) 844 414 0452

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About Avacta Group plc
Avacta’s principal focus is on its proprietary Affimer® technology which is a novel engineered alternative to antibodies that has wide application in Life Sciences for diagnostics, therapeutics and general research and development.

Antibodies dominate markets worth in excess of $100bn despite their shortcomings. Affimer technology has been designed to address many of these negative performance issues, principally; the time taken to generate new antibodies, the reliance on an animal’s immune response, poor specificity in many cases, and batch to batch variability.  Affimer technology is based on a small protein that can be quickly generated to bind with high specificity and affinity to a wide range of protein targets.

Avacta has a pre-clinical biotech development programme with an in-house focus on immuno-oncology and bleeding disorders as well as partnered development programmes. Avacta is commercialising non-therapeutic Affimer reagents through licensing to developers of life sciences research tools and diagnostics.