‘House’ broker Finncap has highlighted the upcoming release of immunogenicity data for biotech firm Avacta PLC’s (LON:AVCT) base Affimer protein scaffold as another “key technical preclinical milestone“.
The data, expected in the next month or so, will keep Avacta on track to take the first Affimer candidate into phase 1 studies, targeted for 2019.
In a note to clients, Finncap analyst Mark Brewer said: “Not only will it add to the requisite data pack to enable the company to have relevant licensing/partnering discussions with big pharma/biopharma but, coupled with the September release of positive animal data, it will provide further evidence as to whether Affimers are a suitable therapeutic platform.”
Ahead of the data, Brewer said he makes no change to his forecasts or 200p target price for Avacta, which he says assumes an “acceptable immunogenicity profile.”
The potential immunogenicity of biotherapeutics is always a concern as an immune response can decrease efficacy and cause adverse side effects.
Responder rate key …
Unwanted immunogenicity – which is the property of a substance to induce an immune response - can seriously slow down the development of a therapeutic candidate and possibly even stop it
A good result from the Affimer immunogenicity study would be a low responder rate in the 50 human samples being tested, which would be indicative of low immunogenicity.
A negative outcome would mean that the Affimer scaffold would need to be reengineered to remove the immunogenic elements, which would take some time.
The Finncap analyst concluded: “A positive result will de-risk the platform further, generate additional external interest in the platform and increase the probability of generating a licence agreement, all of which are value inflection points.”