Avacta Group plc

Gene delivery collaboration

22 Jan 2018 / Corporate research

Avacta is the proprietary owner of Affimer technology for the development of biotherapeutics, diagnostic tests and research reagents. Affimers represent a radical alternative to antibody technology which dominates the drug industry. Avacta has made considerable progress towards its strategic goal to be ready to enter first-inman Affimer trials by the end of 2019. It is also using external collaborations to expand the opportunities for Affimer technology. Avacta has now announced a tieup with OncoSec Medical Inc to combine Affimers with the ImmunoPulse® electroporation technology to deliver Affimer therapies directly into tumours.

  • 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.
  • Electroporation: A transfection technology in which a momentary electrical field is applied to cells in order to increase the permeability of the cell membrane by the creation of small pores, thereby allowing the delivery of genes that encode therapeutic proteins directly into the cell.
  • Collaboration: Avacta has signed a collaboration agreement with OncoSec Medical to investigate the use of ImmunoPulse as a means of injecting Affimers directly into tumours. The tumour then produces clinically-relevant doses of the Affimer drug highly targeted in the tumour microenvironment.
  • Costs and outcomes: Each party will bear its respective internal costs and will share all third-party costs associated with the partnership. Expectations are that the combined technologies can be used to create high-value immunotherapy combinations for clinical development and/or licensing deals.
  • Investment summary: Avacta 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. This collaboration has the potential to satisfy the need to get clinically-relevant doses of drug directly into tumours
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