Avacta signs drug discovery deal

Alistair Smith, CEO of Avacta.   Picture by Bruce Rollinson
Alistair Smith, CEO of Avacta. Picture by Bruce Rollinson
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Avacta Group, which makes devices to speed up and reduce the cost of drug development, has signed a deal with a ​UK based drug discovery company to discover and commercialise new drug targets.

The Wetherby-based group has entered ​into a commercial partnership with PhoreMost, which is headed by Chris Torrance who also founded Horizon Discovery, one of the fastest growing biotech companies in the UK.

PhoreMost hopes to identify new druggable targets in cancer and other diseases using its novel SiteSeeker technology - a screening platform that can rapidly identify unexpected, or hidden drug targets that cannot be found readily using conventional methods.

The SiteSeeker technology requires a large library of binding proteins​, which is where Avacta comes in. Avacta has created a high-tech alternative to antibodies​ called Affimers which act as binding proteins.​

Under the terms of the agreement, Avacta is entitled to a royalty on PhoreMost’s revenues that are generated using Affimers​.

​Avacta’s CEO ​Dr Alastair Smith ​said: “This programme is yet another example where Affimers provide not just an alternative to antibodies but also an opportunity to do something revolutionary.”