Avacta Group PLC (LON:AVCT) shares rose on Thursday as the firm said revenues and cash were ahead of forecast and the life sciences specialist reconfirmed plans to take its first drug into the clinic later this year.
The developer of antibody-like proteins called Affimers said it had benefited from collaborations with companies such as LG Chem and ADC Therapeutics, which funded its R&D activities.
And it expects to receive a boost this year from the recently-signed tie-up with Daewoong Pharmaceuticals.
Avacta’s trading statement covered the 17 months ended December 31 and showed revenues had doubled to £5.5mln. It ended the period with cash of £8.7mln after successfully completing a share placing last November.
The company’s protein-scaffold platform has potential applications in the life sciences research, diagnostics and therapeutics.
These Affimers are capable of binding specific molecular targets, in a similar way to antibodies.
This binding property can be used to target cancer cells in the human body and make those cells vulnerable to attack from the body’s own immune system.
In the middle of next year, Avacta will take AVA6000, its most advanced drug candidate, into the clinic with the read-out from the early-phase trial expected by the end of 2020.
AVA6000 is essentially a re-engineered form of the chemotherapy Doxorubicin modified using the company’s pre | CISION technology to reduce the side effects without diminishing the efficacy.
Avacta believes the headline results from the study could provide a major inflection point and a “significant commercial opportunity”.
In a note to clients, analysts at ‘house’ broker finnCap called Avacta’s trading update “positive”, and reiterated a target price of 76p on the stock.
In morning trading, Avacta shares added 2.4% at 18.50p.
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