How Yorkshire firm Avacta is leading the fight against cancer

Alastair Smith of Avacta
Alastair Smith of Avacta
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A Yorkshire-based biotechnology company is leading the fight against cancer.

Drug developer Avacta, which is working on cures for lung, breast, gastric and bowel cancer, has signed a collaboration and option agreement with ADC Therapeutics.

ADC is a clinical-stage oncology-focused biotechnology company involved in the development of antibody-drug conjugates for patients suffering from haematological malignancies and solid tumours.

The agreement is to develop Affimer-drug conjugates combining Avacta’s Affimer technology with ADC Therapeutics’ pyrrolobenzodiazepine (PBD)-based warhead and linker technologies. Affimers are Avacta's high-tech alternative to antibodies

In a statement, Avacta said: "As part of the multi-target collaboration Avacta will generate and optimise Affimer binders against three undisclosed cancer targets and provide these to ADC Therapeutics to target its proprietary cytotoxic warheads (PBDs) to the site of the tumour. ADC Therapeutics will carry out pre-clinical research and development programmes to evaluate each of the Affimer-drug conjugates with a view to generating clinical candidates."

The commercial agreement between the two companies provides ADC Therapeutics with options to obtain exclusive licenses to the Affimer proteins for clinical development and commercialisation.

Under the terms of the agreement, ADC Therapeutics will cover all Avacta’s costs during the collaboration.

Dr Alastair Smith, the chief executive of Avacta Group, commented: “I am delighted to have established this collaboration with ADC Therapeutics to develop drug conjugates that harness the benefits of Affimer proteins to selectively and efficiently target ADC Therapeutics’ PBD drugs to the site of the tumour. We are very excited about the potential of this collaboration to develop breakthrough oncology treatments, and about its considerable commercial value to Avacta. We look forward to working closely with the ADC Therapeutics team to generate new Affimer-drug conjugates and advance these promising cancer treatments into the clinic.”