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 are being recognised increasingly through corporate and academic interest, on-going evaluations, and deal flow. A co-development partnership has been signed with Bach Biosciences (Tufts) for development of a new type of Affimer-drug conjugate (AfDC), that is already attracting attention from large pharma companies.

  • Strategy: AVCT is aiming to commercialise its Affimer technology through licensing for research and diagnostics, and by identifying and developing its own proprietary therapeutic pipeline for partnering. AVCT has sufficient cash resources to identify an Affimer lead to be ready for first-in-man trials in 2020.
  • Major co-development partnership: AVCT and Bach Biosciences (Boston, MA) have agreed a co-development partnership to advance a new class of Affimer- drug conjugate, that combines technologies from both parties. The first example of such therapeutic will combine Affimer PD-L1 blockade and I-DASH inhibitors.
  • New class of therapeutics: Unlike traditional antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs), the mechanism of this ground-breaking new approach is to be effective at the tumour micro-environment. It has a dual and synergistic effect, with checkpoint blockade and enhancement of the immune response at the tumour site.
  • 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 greatly.
  • Investment summary: AVCT has made considerable progress towards its goal of having its own proprietary Affimer-based drugs and growing a separate profitable reagents business. The company has identified potential therapeutic leads and completed both in-vitro and in-vivo pharmacokinetic pre-clinical, efficacy tests. The rising number of collaborating deals being signed is a clear sign of the value of the technology the market does not seem to recognise yet.