Avacta to raise £45m to help fund its Covid-19 saliva test

Drug developer Avacta is to raise up to £45m through a share placing to fund its Covid-19 rapid testing programme and its cancer therapy pipeline.
Dr Alastair Smith, CEO of Avacta GroupDr Alastair Smith, CEO of Avacta Group
Dr Alastair Smith, CEO of Avacta Group

The Wetherby-based firm recently signed an exclusive distribution agreement with Boohoo billionaire Mahmud Kamani to supply a saliva-based, rapid test for Covid-19.

Avacta said the test should give a result within minutes and is designed for use by both healthcare professionals and consumers around the world.

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The group said the consensus view is that hundreds of millions of antigen tests will be required every month to support the fight against the pandemic amid the initial easing of the lockdown during 2020, and to deal with the long term challenge of endemic Covid-19.

It said a rapid point-of-care antigen test using saliva is ideal for mass screening of populations for coronavirus.

It noted that there are only a few rapid antigen tests in development and none have CE/FDA approval yet.

FinnCap, Zeus Capital and Beech Hill Securities are acting as joint brokers for the placing. Retail investors will also be able to take part in the placing via the PrimaryBid platform

The issue price of 120 pence per share is at a discount of 4.4 per cent to the 30 day volume weighted average price of the ordinary shares on June 3, which was 125.3p per ordinary share.

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