License Agreement with Astrea Bioseparations

License for the use of the Affimer platform for affinity purification applications 

Avacta Group plc (AIM: AVCT), the developer of innovative cancer therapies and diagnostics based on its proprietary Affimer® and pre|CISIONTM platforms, is pleased to announce that it has entered into a license agreement with Astrea Bioseparations (“Astrea”) for the use of the Affimer platform in affinity purification applications.

Astrea is a leading provider of affinity separation solutions to the pharmaceutical and biomanufacturing industries. It is a division of Gamma Biosciences, the life sciences tools platform created by KKR, to build a leading position in next-generation bioprocessing for advanced therapies.

Following Astrea’s successful evaluation of Affimer reagents for affinity separation, the two companies have entered into a non-exclusive license agreement for the use of the Affimer technology in this field.

The agreement includes a £0.5 million upfront payment to Avacta which gives Astrea the rights to generate and develop Affimer reagents in-house for affinity separation. It also provides Astrea with an option to convert the agreement into an exclusive license if certain commercial performance criteria are met over the next three years and subject to the payment of an additional undisclosed option exercise fee.

Avacta will receive royalties on future sales of Astrea’s purification products that contain Affimer reagents.

Alastair Smith, Chief Executive Officer of Avacta Group, commented:

“I am delighted to have entered into this license agreement with Astrea following their evaluation of the Affimer platform. It is another strong endorsement of the Affimer technology as well as an important validation of the licensing business model driven by an active pipeline of ongoing, paid-for technology evaluations.

Affimer reagents are ideal for affinity purification of biological products from complex mixtures because they are highly specific to the product and are robust enough to withstand the harsh cleaning conditions required for repeated use.

Avacta’s in-house focus is on the diagnostics applications of Affimer reagents and therefore this license agreement with Astrea allows the Group to commercialise the Affimer technology in a field of use where Affimer reagents perform extremely well but is now outside our main business focus.

In addition, the Group has made excellent recent progress with its SARS-CoV-2 lateral flow rapid antigen test programme and we anticipate data from the first clinical trial soon. Our clinical evaluation of the BAMSTM laboratory assay is ongoing at two UK clinical sites that Avacta has established and we have made significant commercial progress for all of our coronavirus testing solutions, establishing scalable routes to market for these products to meet the anticipated very high demand. I look forward to reporting on progress on all these fronts in the New Year and to a very exciting 2021 for the Group.”

Steve Burton, President of Astrea Bioseparations commented:

“Affimer reagents are high-performance proteinaceous ligands that have been engineered for a wide range of applications as superior alternatives to antibody-based ligands. They can be used to selectively bind difficult targets, even where antibodies and aptamers have shown limitations. In combination with our proven Mimetic Ligand® chemical ligand libraries, the Affimer ligand platform significantly expands our capacity to discover, develop and deliver custom affinity adsorbents for purification of biotherapeutics and advanced therapies.”