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Avacta Group PLC - Submission of CTA for AVA6000 Pro-doxorubixin

RNS Number : 6025J
Avacta Group PLC
23 December 2020

23 December 2020

Avacta Group plc

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


Submission of Clinical Trial Application for AVA6000 Pro-doxorubixin

A Phase 1 dose-escalation and expansion study of Avacta's novel pre|CISIONTM FAP-activated Doxorubicin prodrug


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 submitted a Clinical Trial Application (CTA) in the UK for a Phase 1, first-in-human, open label, dose-escalation and expansion study of its lead pre|CISIONTM prodrug, AVA6000, in patients with locally advanced or metastatic selected solid tumours.

In AVA6000, Doxorubicin has been modified with Avacta's pre|CISIONTM chemistry which renders the modified drug inactive in the circulation until it enters the tumour micro-enviornment where it is activated by an enzyme called FAP (fibroblast activation protein) which is in high abundance in most solid tumours but not in healthy tissue such as the heart. AVA6000 has been shown in animal models to significantly increase the amount of active drug in a tumour compared with the heart and should thereby improve tolerability and achieve better clinical outcomes for patients.

The planned phase I study is a first-in-human, open-label, multi-centre study to be carried out in the UK in patients with locally advanced or metastatic solid tumours which are known to be FAP positive including pancreatic, colorectal, breast, ovarian, bladder and non-small cell lung cancers, squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck and soft-tissue sarcoma.

The dose-escalation phase of the study, which will be carried out in 15-20 patients, is designed to evaluate the safety of AVA6000 in humans and establish the appropriate dosing levels for the dose expansion phase of the study.

The dose expansion phase will consist of up to three studies in specific tumour types to further evaluate safety and tolerability and to explore the anti-tumour activity of AVA6000 when administered as a monotherapy. This phase of study will comprise 45-60 patients in total.

If the AVA6000 study shows that the pre|CISION chemistry is effective in reducing systemic toxicity of Doxorubicin in humans, then it can be applied to a range of other established chemotherapies to improve their safety and efficacy. This would open up a pipeline of next generation chemotherapies for the Group with significant clinical and commercial value in a chemotherapy market that is expected to grow to $56 billion by 2024.

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

"I am absolutely delighted that we have achieved this landmark milestone for the pre|CISION platform and for the Group. I would express my gratitude to our clinical development team led by Neil Bell who recently joined the Group as Chief Development Officer, as well as our collaborators at Tufts University, who have worked tirelessly to meet a demanding timeline under difficult conditions during the pandemic.

The study will provide key information about the performance of the pre|CISION chemistry in humans that will underpin the value of a substantial pipeline of safer, next-generation chemotherapies. We have already begun development of pre|CISION pro-drug forms of Velcade, Oxaliplatin and Paclitaxel so that we can rapidly accelerate one or more of these assets into the clinic when we see the first read-out from the AVA6000 trial approximately four months into the dose escalation phase.

We expect to receive feedback from the MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency) on the Clinical Trial Application by February 2021. Dosing of first patients will commence when we have responded to that feedback and received approval to proceed. I look forward to updating the market on the detailed timing in due course."


Neil Bell, Chief Development Officer of Avacta Group, commented: 

"I am delighted with the progress made since joining the company in July 2020. The AVA6000 CTA submission represents a major development milestone for the pre|CISION platform and the AVA6000 Doxorubicin pro-drug programme.

By utilising FAP activation, the pre|CISION platform enables an innovative and targeted chemotherapy system with the ability to deliver chemotherapies like Doxorubicin to the tumour microenvironment whilst limiting very severe and life-threatening toxicities in non-target tissues. pre|CISION has the potential to change current treatment paradigms for many chemotherapies which have not maximised their clinical utility.

We now look forward to working with the MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency) to achieve approval for the CTA as early as possible and move AVA6000 into the clinic."  

- 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


Tony Gardiner, Chief Financial Officer




finnCap Ltd (Nominated Adviser and Joint Broker)

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Tel: +44 (0) 207 710 7600

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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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