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Avacta on track to deliver pre-clinical milestones this year

The company is making progress with its lead immuno-oncology programmes
affimer technology
The company is a pioneer of Affimers, which are small, engineered proteins

Avacta Group Plc (LON:AVCT) said its lead PD-L1 programme was on track to deliver key pre-clinical milestones this year.

And it reported “excellent progress” with a second immuno-oncology research project, a LAG3 blockade, which can be combined with PD-L1 for improved efficacy.

WATCH: Analyst discusses Avacta

The company is a pioneer of Affimers, which are small, engineered proteins, some of which are of human origin and some of them plant-derived. They are capable of binding specific molecular targets, in a similar way to antibodies.

Smaller and quicker to manufacture

They are smaller, quicker to manufacture and easier to format, but they maintain antibody-like biologic activity when binding a target.

Avacta, in its half-year results update, said its discovery programme continued to deliver a pipeline of binders to other important immuno-oncology targets for future partnering or development.

READ: Avacta agrees licensing deal with Glythera

It also reported “solid progress” where it developing the drug technology with partners. It has deals with Glythera, FIT Biotech and Modern Therapeutics.

The drug developer added it was in “discussion with multiple pharma and biotech regarding Affimer therapeutics opportunities” as pipeline of opportunities continued to grow across multiple applications.

Turning to the financials, Avacta generated sales of £1.5mln in the six months to January 31, £200,000 more than it made in the same period last year, giving a reported loss of £3.9mln.

Strong financial position 

More importantly, the business is in a strong position financially with £8.3mln at the period end.

Chief executive Alastair Smith said the Avacta team’s “key objective” going forward was generating clinical data for its lead Affimer therapeutic programme.

WATCH: Avacta making 'excellent progress' with lead programmes

“This first-time-in-human data is a significant value inflection point for the technology and a major de-risking point from a partnering perspective,” he told investors.

“Whilst we progress towards the clinic in 2020, the group will continue to build-out a potentially transformative pipeline of assets in immuno-oncology.  

“Avacta is confident that partnerships can be established for assets in this pipeline before the technology is in the clinic, but we also believe that the value of these deals will rise markedly when the first Affimer human clinical data is obtained.”

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