Avacta Group Plc (LON:AVCT) is the proprietary owner of Affimer technology for the development of bio-therapeutics, diagnostic tests and research reagents. Affimers represent a radical alternative to established antibody technology which dominates the drug industry. Avacta has made considerable progress towards its strategic goal to be ready to enter first-in-man Affimer trials by the end of 2019. In addition, Avacta is using external collaborations to expand the opportunities for its Affimer technology. A proof-of-concept study combining its Affimer technology with Glythera’s Permalink chemistry to generate Affimer Drug Conjugates has concluded successfully.
Strategy: To commercialise its Affimer technology through a combination of bespoke research tools, collaborative deals and by identifying and developing its own proprietary therapeutic Affimer leads. Avacta has sufficient cash resources to identify an Affimer lead to be ready for first-in-man in 2019.
Affimer Drug Conjugates (AfDC): Drug conjugation is an approach to get cytotoxic drugs targeted directly at cancer cells. In July 2016, Avacta tied-up with Glythera to combine the advantages of Affimers with Glythera’s chemistry to develop AfDC in an attempt to overcome these problems.
Proof-of-concept study: This study has demonstrated that Avacta’s Affimer technology can be combines successfully with Glythera’s Permalink chemistry to generate AfDC that not only eliminate the well documented disadvantages of ADC, but also to generate a technically superior drug conjugate platform.
Licensing deal: As a consequence of the study outcome, Avacta and Glythera have signed a licensing deal for the further development of their respective proprietary technologies to generate a clinic-ready AfDC drug. Avacta would receive milestones and royalties on the sales of any regulatory approved drug.
Investment summary: Avacta Group Plc has made considerable progress towards its goal of having its own proprietary Affimer-based drugs and growing a profitable reagents business. By itself, AVCT has identified potential leads and completed both in vitro and in vivo pharmacokinetic pre-clinical tests, efficacy and immunogenicity tests. The Glythera collaboration provides another platform on which Avacta could generate long-term returns for shareholders.