Avacta (AVCT) is a pre-clinical biotechnology company and the proprietary owner of Affimer technology. Affimers represent a radical alternative to the established antibody technology, which continues to dominate the drug industry, despite its limitations. The significant technical and commercial benefits of Affimers is being recognised though increased corporate interest, on-going evaluations, and deal flow. Meanwhile, AVCT has made stunning progress in its strategic goal to enter first-in-man trials in 2020, which now looks likely to be with a valuable bi-specific Affimer immuno-oncology asset.

  • Strategy: AVCT is aiming to commercialise its Affimer technology through bespoke research tools, collaborative deals and by identifying and developing its own proprietary therapeutic leads. AVCT has sufficient cash resources to identify an Affimer lead to be ready for first-in-man trials in 2019.
  • Interims: Sales increased 16% to £1.47m (£1.26m), driven by a 50% rise in Life Sciences (custom service and reagent Affimers). Investment in personnel and US business development infrastructure generated an underlying EBIT loss a little ahead of forecasts at -£4.28m (-£3.71m). Net cash was £0.5m better at £8.3m.
  • 2015 objectives: In 2015, AVCT set out a number of objectives to advance the potential use of Affimer technology in both therapeutics and diagnostics. In just two years, the company has made incredible progress and looks set to enter the clinic with a potentially valuable and novel bi-specific Affimer asset in 2020.
  • Risks: 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 two years which have reduced the risk profile.
  • Investment summary: AVCT has made considerable progress towards its goal of having its own proprietary Affimer-based drugs and growing a profitable reagents business. By itself, the company has identified potential leads and completed both in vitro and in vivo pharmacokinetic pre-clinical, efficacy and immunogenicity tests. Awareness of the potential of Affimers is also being enhanced through the rising number of collaborative deals being signed.