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Avacta Group PLC - License Agreement with Astrea Bioseparations

RNS Number : 2541J
Avacta Group PLC
21 December 2020
 

 

21 December 2020

Avacta Group plc

("Avacta", the "Company" or the "Group")

 

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."

 

- Ends -

 

This announcement contains information which, prior to its disclosure, was considered inside information for the purposes of Article 7 of Regulation (EU) No 596/2014 (MAR).

 

For further information from Avacta Group plc, please contact:

Avacta Group plc 

Tel:  +44 (0) 844 414 0452

Alastair Smith, Chief Executive Officer

www.avacta.com

Tony Gardiner, Chief Financial Officer

 

 

 

finnCap Ltd (Nominated Adviser and Joint Broker)

Tel: +44 (0) 207 220 0500

Geoff Nash / Giles Rolls - Corporate Finance

Tim Redfern - ECM

www.finncap.com

 

 

 

Stifel Nicolaus Europe Limited (Joint Broker)

Tel: +44 (0) 207 710 7600

Nicholas Moore / Nick Adams / Fred Walsh / Ben Maddison

www.stifel.com

 

 

Yellow Jersey PR (Financial Media and IR)

Tel: +44 (0) 203 004 9512

Sarah Hollins / Henry Wilkinson

avacta@yellowjerseypr.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

Zyme Communications (Trade and Regional Media)

Tel: +44 (0) 7787 502 947

Katie Odgaard

katie.odgaard@zymecommunications.com

 

     

 

About Avacta Group plc - www.avacta.com

Avacta is developing novel cancer immunotherapies combining its two proprietary platforms - Affimer® biotherapeutics and pre|CISION™ tumour targeted chemotherapy. With this approach, the Company aims to address the lack of a durable response to current immunotherapies experienced by most patients. The Company's therapeutics development activities are based in Cambridge, UK.

 

The Company benefits from near-term revenues generated from Affimer reagents for diagnostics, bioprocessing and research, through a separate business unit based in Wetherby, UK.

 

The Affimer platform is an alternative to antibodies derived from a small human protein. Despite their shortcomings, antibodies currently dominate markets worth in excess of $100 billion.  Affimer technology has been designed to address many of these negative performance issues, principally: the time taken, and the reliance on an animal's immune response, to generate new antibodies; poor specificity in many cases; large size and cost.

 

Avacta's pre|CISION targeted chemotherapy platform, releases active chemotherapy only in the tumour, thereby limiting systemic exposure and damage to healthy tissues, and thereby improving the overall safety and therapeutic potential of these powerful anti-cancer treatments.

 

By combining these two platforms the Company is building a wholly owned pipeline of novel cancer therapies with the aim of creating effective treatments for all cancer patients including those who do not respond to existing immunotherapies. Avacta expects to take its first drug, a pre|CISION targeted form of the standard-of-care doxorubicin, into the clinic in early 2021.

 

Avacta has established drug development partnerships with pharma and biotech, including with Moderna Therapeutics Inc., a deal with LG Chem worth up to $400 million, a partnership with ADC Therapeutics to develop Affimer drug conjugates and has established a joint venture in South Korea with Daewoong Pharmaceutical focused on cell and gene therapies incorporating Affimer immune-modulators. Avacta actively seeks to license its proprietary platforms in a range of therapeutic areas.

 

Avacta's diagnostics business unit works with partners world-wide to develop Affimer reagents for evaluation by those third parties with the objective of establishing royalty bearing license deals. The Company is also developing a small in-house pipeline of Affimer-based diagnostic assays for licensing.

 

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