Avacta secures major development partnership to boost its growth

Alastair Smith of Avacta.
Alastair Smith of Avacta.
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Avacta Group said it had secured a major development partnership and is on track to dose its first patients next year.

Avacta, which is working on cures for lung, breast and bowel cancer, has published its interim results for the period ended January 31 2019.

The company said it had secured a major development partnership and license agreement with LG Chem Life Sciences (LG Chem) which is potentially worth more than $300m plus future royalties on product sales.

The agreement included an upfront payment of $2.5m, near-term milestone payments of up to a further $5.5m plus payment of Avacta’s research costs to develop Affimer therapeutics for oncology and the treatment of inflammatory diseases.

The group said its half year revenues of £1.0m were reduced due to the absence of research services revenue for FTEs working on the Moderna collaboration now that assets have been transferred into their development pipeline.

However, the LG Chem funded research services work started in February 2019 and will contribute to second half-year figures, the company said.

The group posted an operating loss £5.9m with research and development costs increasing to £2.4m

Alastair Smith, chief executive, commented: “The group remains focused on the key objective of first-time-in-human data for the Affimer therapeutic programme and growing a profitable Affimer reagents business.

“First-time-in-human data is a significant value inflection point for the technology and a major de-risking point from a deal making perspective.

“The group remains on track, to a tight schedule, to dose first patients in late 2020. The addition of Dr Jose Saro as chief medical officer is a significant strengthening of the senior management team with regards this translation of programmes into the clinic.”