29 November 2021
Avacta Group plc
("Avacta" or "the Group" or "the Company")
Avacta Announces FDA Approval of its Investigational New Drug (IND) Application for AVA6000
Enables expansion of recruitment into ongoing phase I study to include eligible US patients upon opening of clinical sites in early 2022
Avacta Group plc (AIM: AVCT), a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company developing innovative cancer therapies and powerful diagnostics based on its proprietary Affimer® and pre|CISION™ platforms, is pleased to announce that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved its Investigational New Drug (IND) application for AVA6000. This will allow the Group to expand its Phase I clinical trial, ALS-6000-101, into clinical trial sites in the United States.
AVA6000 is a novel form of doxorubicin that has been modified with Avacta's pre|CISION™ platform to improve its safety and therapeutic index. Anthracyclines such as doxorubicin, a generic chemotherapy for which the market is expected to grow to $1.38bn by 2024, are widely used as part of standard of care in several tumour types, but their use is limited by cumulative toxicity. AVA6000 has been designed to limit cell penetration of the drug, and therefore its cell killing effect, until it is specifically activated by fibroblast activation protein α (FAP) which is in high concentration in many solid tumours compared with healthy tissues. The resulting reduced exposure of healthy tissues to active doxorubicin has the potential to significantly increase its therapeutic index by reducing the incidence of adverse effects, including cardiotoxicity and myelosuppression.
The FDA has completed its 30-day review of Avacta's IND application, which was submitted ahead of schedule in October 2021, and has concluded that the Group may proceed with its proposed clinical investigation. This allows Avacta to enroll eligible patients into US clinical trial sites for the company's Phase I multi-centre study, ALS-6000-101. As previously announced in August 2021, the Company has begun recruiting and dosing patients for this study at several clinical trial sites in the UK, and continues to expect the dose escalation phase for this trial to complete by Q2 2022 followed by completion of the dose expansion phase around mid-2023. Enrollment in US clinical trial sites is expected to begin in early 2022.
Dr Alastair Smith, Chief Executive Officer of Avacta Group, commented:
"We are delighted to have received approval from the FDA to add clinical trial sites in the United States as part of the Phase I study for AVA6000. This is a major milestone in our development of pre|CISION™ chemotherapies and is testament to the performance of our clinical development team and the quality of the pre-clinical data for AVA6000.
"Provided that the study shows that the pre|CISIONTM technology is effective in reducing systemic toxicity of Doxorubicin, then that would open up an extensive and proprietary pipeline for Avacta of next-generation pre|CISIONTM chemotherapies with significant clinical and commercial advantages in a chemotherapy market that is expected to exceed $74 billion by 2027.
"We now look forward to opening up clinical trial sites in the United States and additional clinical trial sites in the UK."
Neil Bell, Chief Development Officer of Avacta Life Sciences commented:
"We are excited to bring the first FAP-activated chemotherapeutic to the clinic in the US, which has the potential to meaningfully impact patients with difficult-to-treat tumours. The clearance of the AVA6000 IND by the FDA enables the opening of key US sites to support the ALS-6000-101 clinical trial which is currently recruiting patients across clinical sites in the UK."
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For further information from Avacta Group plc, please contact:
Avacta Group plc
Alastair Smith, Chief Executive Officer
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About ALS-6000-101 Clinical Study
ALS-6000-101 is a Phase I study in patients with locally advanced or metastatic selected solid tumours, known to be FAP-positive, in which cohorts of patients receive ascending doses of AVA6000 to determine the maximum tolerated dose and establish a recommended Phase II dose. The second part of the study is an expansion phase where patients receive AVA6000 to further evaluate the safety, tolerability and clinical activity at this recommended Phase II dose across selected tumour types. The dose escalation phase for this study is anticipated to complete by Q2 2022 followed by completion of the dose expansion phase by Q2 2023. For more information visit www.clinicaltrials.gov (NCT04969835).
About Avacta Group plc - https://www.avacta.com
Avacta Group is developing novel cancer immunotherapies and powerful diagnostics based on its two proprietary platforms - Affimer® biologics and pre|CISION™ tumour targeted chemotherapies.
The Affimer® platform is an alternative to antibodies derived from a small human protein. Despite their shortcomings, antibodies currently dominate markets, such as diagnostics and therapeutics, worth in excess of $100bn. Affimer technology has been designed to address many of these negative performance issues, principally: the time taken to generate new antibodies and the reliance on an animal's immune response; poor specificity in many cases; their large size, complexity and high cost of manufacture.
Avacta's pre|CISION™ targeted chemotherapy platform releases active chemotherapy in the tumour, which limits the systemic exposure that causes damage to healthy tissues, and thereby improves the overall safety and therapeutic potential of these powerful anti-cancer treatments.
The Group comprises two divisions: The therapeutics development activities are based in London and Cambridge, UK and the Group is generating near-term revenues from Affimer reagents for diagnostics, bioprocessing and research, through a separate diagnostics business unit based in Wetherby, UK.
Avacta's Diagnostics Division is developing an in-house pipeline of Affimer-based diagnostic assays, including the AffiDX® SARS-CoV-2 Lateral Flow Rapid Antigen Test, and works with partners world-wide to develop bespoke Affimer® reagents for third party products.
Avacta's Therapeutics Division is working to deliver a more tolerable and durable treatment response for oncology patients who do not respond to existing immunotherapies. By combining its two proprietary platforms the Group is building a wholly owned pipeline of clinically differentiated cancer therapies, aiming to extend the therapeutic benefits to all cancer patients. In 2021 Avacta transitioned to become a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company, commencing a phase I first-in-human, open label, dose-escalation and expansion study of AVA6000, a pro-doxorubicin, the Group's lead pre|CISION™ prodrug, in patients with locally advanced or metastatic selected solid tumours.
Avacta has established drug development partnerships with pharma and biotech, including a research collaboration with ModernaTX, Inc. (formerly Moderna Therapeutics Inc.), a multi-target deal with LG Chem worth up to $400m, a joint venture in South Korea with Daewoong Pharmaceutical focused on cell and gene therapies incorporating Affimer immune-modulators and a collaboration with Point Biopharma to develop radiopharmaceuticals based on the pre|CISION™ platform. Avacta continues to actively seek to license its proprietary platforms in a range of therapeutic areas.
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