Avacta is the proprietary owner of Affimer technology for the development of biotherapeutics, diagnostic tests and research reagents. Affimers represent a radical alternative to established antibody technology which dominates the drug industry despite its limitations. Avacta has made considerable progress towards its strategic goal to have a first-in-man Affimer therapeutic by the end of 2019. Meanwhile, recognition that Affimers can hit specific targets in areas where antibodies have failed, has resulted in the signing of two distinct agreements with US-based biotechs to provide highly specific Affimers for in-house research programmes.

  • Strategy: To commercialise its Affimer technology through a combination of bespoke research tools, collaborative deals and by identifying and developing its own proprietary therapeutic Affimer leads. The company has sufficient cash resource to identify an Affimer lead through to IND submission (end fiscal 2018).
  • Licensing deals: Avacta has entered into two exclusive licensing agreements with different US-based biotech companies for use of bespoke Affimers for in-house research use. The first aims to differentiate a human protein vs similar proteins from other species; while the second is targeting a protein important in oncology.
  • Relevance: With these additional licensing deals, Avacta continues to demonstrate the advantages of its Affimer technology compared to antibodies. Avacta has yet again delivered Affimers in areas of great specificity where antibodies failed to provide an answer, or did not satisfy the specified criteria.
  • Risk: Affimers represent a new disruptive technology and the potential customer base might take time to recognise their advantages. While all new drug development carries a high risk, Avacta has hit a number of important milestones over the last years which have considerably altered the risk profile.
  • Investment summary: Avacta has made considerable progress towards its goal of having its own proprietary Affimer-based drugs. In just 18 months, it has identified potential leads and completed in vitro and in vivo pharmacokinetic pre-clinical tests. The next step is to prove lack of immunogenicity before selecting its immuno-oncology lead candidate and filing an Investigational New Drug (IND) in 2018, as a prelude to beginning clinical testing in 2019.