Avacta hails progress in mission to create superior alternative to antibodies

Alastair Smith
Alastair Smith
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The Avacta Group said revenues rose 11 per cent last year to £1.81m.

The Wetherby-based company makes devices to speed up and reduce the cost of drug development.

Avacta has created a high-tech alternative to antibodies called Affimers which act as binding proteins.

Alastair Smith, chief executive, said: “The board believes that the Affimer technology has enormous potential both as a source of novel biotherapeutics and research reagents.

“These molecules possess innate attributes that suggest they could be superior alternatives to antibodies.

“Our strategic mission is to realise this potential and take a meaningful share of a very large and growing market and we have made important progress towards this goal in the last financial year.

“There has been good early interest in our Affimer research reagents and the scaled up operations that we have established have delivered the first commercial Affimer reagents into customers’ hands.”

Avacta agreed a $500,000 collaboration, licensing and option partnership with Moderna Therapeutics. This allows Moderna exclusive access to Affimers against certain targets which may be extended to include additional targets by a further payment.

Mr Smith said: “The strategic deal with Moderna Therapeutics in large part underpinned the rationale for our subsequent significant fund raise, completed during August, which has allowed the company to expand significantly its in-house Affimer therapeutics development programme.

“These monies should allow us, amongst other objectives, to deliver at least one Affimer drug candidate in to the clinic in the next few years.”

The group reported a total loss for the year of £9.99m. It completed a fundraising of £21m after the year ending July 2015.

Avacta also said it has appointed Mike Owen, previously senior vice president and global head of biopharmaceuticals research at GlaxoSmithKline, as a non-executive director to the board.