Avacta raises £10m through share placing to help develop its latest invention Affimers

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DIAGNOSTICS​ specialist Avacta Group has raised over £10m in a share placing to speed up the development and commercialisation of its latest invention – Affimers, a high-tech alternative to antibodies.

The Wetherby-based company designed Affimers in order to address the negative performance issues that exist with real antibodies, namely the time it takes to generate new antibodies and the variation in batches.

​T​he money will be used to set up ​new ​commercial partnerships.

​Avacta’s chief executive Dr Alastair Smith said: “We are delighted to have successfully raised these funds through both existing and new shareholders.

​“​Following the achievement of some significant technical milestones, ​we considered that the commercialisation of the Affimer platform should be accelerated and the ​b​oard is now in a position to do that.”

The placing shares will represent 18.6 per cent of the company’s enlarged issued ordinary share capital immediately following completion of the placing, assuming no option shares are issued.

Avacta is to hold a general meeting on May 23 to update shareholders on the placing.

The company said it is ​in talks with a wide range of potential customers for Affimers.

Avacta said that its man-made antibodies are much more resilient, cheaper and stronger than animal antibodies.

The company, which designs and makes devices to speed up and reduce the cost of drug development and analysis, said antibodies can easily get damaged when they are made into products.

Companies use antibodies in laboratory tests to help scientific research, drug development, diagnostics and purification.

Dr Smith said the group will launch an Affimers catalogue on its website this summer.

This will be aimed at a mixture of academic and commercial customers. Food producers use antibodies to test enzyme activity in food safety.

“There are opportunities for us outside medicine,” said Dr Smith. “This is an exciting time for the group. The opportunity for Affimers looks enormous – it could become the most significant part of the group.”