16 May 2022
Avacta Group plc
("Avacta" or "the Group" or "the Company")
AffyXell expands its strategic partnership with GenScript ProBio
AffyXell, Avacta's joint venture with Daewoong Pharmaceutical, expands its manufacturing partnership with GenScript ProBio for cell therapies
GenScript ProBio agrees to take an equity stake in AffyXell as a strategic investor at next funding round
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 AffyXell, its joint venture with South Korean drug maker Daewoong Pharmaceutical, has expanded its strategic partnership with GenScript ProBio, a leading biopharmaceutical manufacturer.
AffyXell is a joint venture established in January 2020 by Daewoong Pharmaceutical and Avacta, developing the next generation of cell and gene therapies based on mesenchymal stem cells which incorporate Affimer® immunotherapies. This new class of stem cell therapy is designed to produce Affimer® proteins, in situ in the body, that reduce inflammatory or autoimmune responses to the stem cell therapy to potentially enhance their therapeutic effects.
GenScript ProBio, part of Genscript Biotech Corporation (HKG: 1548), is a leading global contract development and manufacturing organisation providing a best-in-class, one-stop platform for research and development of biological drugs, DNA plasmids and lentiviruses, and for clinical production of cell and gene therapy products.
AffyXell and GenScript ProBio are extending their strategic manufacturing partnership, which they entered into in December 2021, that covers AffyXell's first drug development programme to include additional future programmes. The partnership covers process development and production of viral vectors required for the production of AffyXell's future cell therapy products. In addition, as part of this strategic alliance, GenScript has now committed to take an equity position in AffyXell at a future funding round, and the two companies will collaborate in the area of business development, including potential out licensing.
Dr Alastair Smith, Chief Executive of Avacta Group plc commented:
"This is an important strategic partnership for AffyXell with a world leading contract development and manufacturing partner. The fact that GenScript ProBio are prepared to take a strategic equity stake in AffyXell is a very strong validation of the potential for AffyXell's next generation cell and gene therapies, and the future valuation of the business.
"We are delighted with the excellent progress being made by AffyXell with the Affimer® immunomodulators provided by Avacta under our joint venture agreement."
Jongsang Ryu, Chief Executive Officer of AffyXell said:
"We were able to attract strategic investment from the CDMO partner as the excellence and potential of our next-generation cell therapy platform have been recognized.
"This agreement will be an opportunity to accelerate the development of therapies targeting intractable diseases, providing meaningful options for the suffering patients."
Dr Brian Min, Chief Executive Officer of GenScript ProBio commented:
"We are pleased to partner with AffyXell and are honored to support this next-generation cell therapy project with GenScript ProBio's stable and high-yield viral vector platform. We expect many patients to benefit from this innovative genetically modified mesenchymal stem cells therapy soon."
- ENDS -
This announcement contains information which, prior to its disclosure, was considered inside information for the purposes of Article 7 of Regulation (EU) No 596/2014 (MAR).
For further information from Avacta Group plc, please contact:
Avacta Group plc
Alastair Smith, Chief Executive Officer
Tony Gardiner, Chief Financial Officer
Michael Vinegrad, Group Communications Director
Tel: +44 (0) 844 414 0452
Stifel Nicolaus Europe Limited (Nomad and Broker)
Nicholas Moore / Nick Adams / Fred Walsh / Nicholas Harland
Tel: +44 (0) 207 710 7600
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Simon Conway / Alex Shaw / George Kendrick
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About Avacta Group plc - 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 and is derived from a small human protein. Affimer technology has been designed to address many of the negative issues of antibodies, principally: the time taken to generate new antibodies, the reliance on an animal's immune response; poor specificity in many cases; in addition to, the complexity and high cost of manufacture. Despite these shortcomings, antibodies currently dominate markets, such as diagnostics and therapeutics, which are worth in excess of $100bn.
Avacta's pre|CISION™ targeted chemotherapy platform is designed to selectively release active chemotherapy in FAP rich tumour tissue to limit the systemic exposure that causes damage to healthy tissues, and thereby aims to improve the overall safety and therapeutic potential of these powerful anti-cancer treatments.
The Avacta Group comprises two divisions: The therapeutics development activities are based in London, UK and a separate diagnostics business unit is based in Wetherby, UK. The Group is generating near-term revenues from Affimer® reagents for diagnostics, bioprocessing and research.
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 generate more tolerable and durable treatments for oncology patients who do not respond to existing therapies. By combining its two proprietary platforms the Group is building a wholly owned pipeline of clinically differentiated cancer therapies. In 2021 Avacta transitioned to become a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company, when it commenced a phase I trial in patients with locally advanced or metastatic selected solid tumours. The study was a first-in-human, open label, dose-escalation and expansion study of the Group's lead pre|CISION™ prodrug, AVA6000 (a pro-doxorubicin).
Avacta has established drug development partnerships with pharma and biotech, including 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 recent license agreement with Point Biopharma for them to develop radiopharmaceuticals based on the pre|CISION™ platform.
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