Integumen PLC - Partners with Avacta for novel SARS-CoV-2 sensors

RNS Number : 7376S
Integumen PLC
13 July 2020

AIM share code: SKIN

13 July 2020


Integumen PLC


("Integumen" or "Company")


Integumen partners with Avacta plc for novel SARS-CoV-2 sensors


Collaboration offers hotspot detection monitoring in wastewater


Integumen has signed a Material Transfer Agreement ("MTA") with Avacta plc ("Avacta") to evaluate the immobilisation of Avacta's affirmer® ("Affirmer) proteins on a novel sensor for the purpose of detection  of SARS-CoV-2 in wastewater. The Avacta affimers have the potential to play a key role in the real-time identification of localised COVID-19 hotspots in wastewater, from which authorities can be alerted through Integumen's real-time alert system to prevent the spread of the disease to the wider community. Each party is responsible for its own costs in respect of the evaluation.


The MTA formalises Integumen's access to Avacta's Affimers to be coated onto Integumen's proprietary silicon wafer nano-photonic surfaces.  Integumen, who are already well advanced with the miniaturisation of the virus detection prototype, will make use of up to six Affimers to be tested at the Company's York, UK, manufacturing facilities, which specialises in laboratory grown human skin equivalents specifically designed to host bacteria, virus and fungi.  Once initial testing on the Affimers is completed over the next few weeks, validation of the sensors on the real SARS-CoV-2 virus will be carried out at the containment level 3 ("CL3") laboratory in the University of Aberdeen.


Upon successful completion of the evaluation, Integumen and the Avacta will enter into a supply agreement for the supply of Affimers into Integumen's sensors which will initially be integrated and retrofitted into Modern Water plc's Microtox water contamination system units to detect the coronavirus. The Microtox system, which can detect the presence of contaminating bacteria, virus and toxins but not yet identify them, is distributed by Modern Water and has a global footprint of over 3,000 installations.


Gerard Brandon CEO Integumen plc  commented:

"We are delighted to be collaborating with Avacta, adding their highly specific and robust Affimer reagent  to our real-time alert arsenal of pathogen capture devices of the COVID-19 virus in sewage. The global pandemic has highlighted wastewater as an early warning hotspot detection opportunity and the inclusion of Affimer reagents  with our sensors adds an already established method of capturing the virus to  an already established pathogen alert system1."


Dr Alastair Smith, CEO of Avacta plc commented: 

"I am very pleased to be entering into this collaboration with Integumen which holds substantial commercial potential for an Affimer-based consumable SARS-COV-2 detector unit to retrofit into the large global installed based of Microtox systems. Affimer reagents are ideal for applications such as this not only because of their sensitivity and specificity but also because of their robustness which is essential when being deployed in real-world situations like real-time waste-water analysis.

With the spread of COVID-19 continuing to accelerate globally, we are proud to work with partners like Integumen to provide our Affimer reagents for development on a range of platforms to combat the pandemic. This collaboration has the potential to deliver a product that will play a crucial role in the early detection of COVID-19 hotspots around the world.

I look forward to updating the market very soon on progress with Integumen and other COVID-19 related programmes"


The information communicated in this announcement is inside information for the purposes of Article 7 of EU Regulation 596/2014.



Integumen plc

Gerard Brandon, CEO


+44 (0) 7340 055 648

SPARK Advisory Partners Limited

(Nominated Adviser)


Neil Baldwin/Andrew Emmott

+44 (0) 113 370 8974

Turner Pope Investments (TPI) Limited (Broker)

Andy Thacker/Zoe Alexander

+44 (0) 20 3657 0050


About Integumen plc

Integumen is a scientific research and AI-as-a-Service company focused on production and analysis of bacteria, virus and toxins utilising artificial intelligent data analytics in regulatory technology, from scientifically proving the impact of skincare product claims on skin microbiome for top 10 global cosmetic company clients to remotely detecting water contamination in real-time.


About Avacta 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, Avacta aims to address the lack of a durable response to current immunotherapies experienced by most patients. Avacta's therapeutics development activities are based in Cambridge, UK.


Avacta 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 $100bn.  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 Avacta 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 later in 2020 or 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 $310m, 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 diagnostics business unit works with partners world-wide to develop Affimers for evaluation by those third parties with the objective of establishing royalty bearing license deals. Avacta is also developing a small in-house pipeline of Affimer-based diagnostic assays for licensing. (Source : Avacta plc)


About Modern Water

Modern Water was established in 2006 to develop and commercialise water recovery technologies to counter water crisis problems arising from climate change and a growing global population. Having invested £20m over the last 14 years, the results comprise of a robust patent portfolio of cutting edge technology, focused on monitoring of contaminated water and decontamination of wastewater, making recycling of water more efficient. Six countries across the world have legislated that Modern Water monitoring test systems are written into their environmental protection legislation.





1 Remote Automated Water Test (RAWTest) incorporating artificial intelligence (AI) develop in a consortium partly funded by the Irish Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). https://www.londonstockexchange.com/news-article/SKIN/results-of-ai-water-research-project/14314998. 

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