LG Chem Life Sciences Expands Partnership with Avacta
LG Chem selects second and third drug targets following rapid progress in first programme
Avacta Group plc (AIM: AVCT), the developer of Affimer® biotherapeutics and reagents, is pleased to provide an update on the Affimer® therapeutics development partnership and license agreement with LG Chem Life Sciences (LG Chem), part of the South Korean LG Group, to develop Affimer® therapeutics in several disease areas.
Avacta has successfully generated a large number of Affimer proteins that bind to the first drug target nominated by LG Chem. These candidate Affimer molecules are now being optimised by Avacta, for LG Chem to then carry out pre-clinical development, successful completion of which would trigger the next substantial milestone payment to Avacta.
LG Chem has now expanded the collaboration by nominating the second and third drug targets and Avacta is beginning the discovery programmes for Affimer binders to those new targets. Each of these programmes also has the potential for further milestone payments.
The multi-target therapeutics development agreement with LG Chem was signed in December 2018 and provided upfront and near-term development milestone payments, plus longer-term clinical development milestones. Avacta will also receive royalties on any future product sales and LG Chem is covering all Avacta's costs of research and development associated with the collaboration.
"I am very pleased with the excellent progress made in the first programme with LG Chem. Not only is this an important validation of the Affimer platform, confirming that it can be used to quickly generate potential candidate drug molecules for development, but it also means that we have taken an important step towards receiving the next substantial milestone payment under our collaboration agreement.
Our partnership with LG Chem goes from strength to strength with their decision to nominate the next two drug targets. I look forward to keeping the market informed of further progress over the coming months."
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Avacta is developing novel cancer immunotherapies combining its two proprietary platforms - Affimer® biotherapeutics and pre|CISIONTM tumour targeted chemotherapy. With this approach, the Company aims to address the lack of a durable response to current immunotherapies experienced by most patients. The Company's therapeutics development activities are based in Cambridge, UK.
The Company benefits from near-term revenues generated from Affimer reagents for diagnostics, bioprocessing and research, through a separate business unit based in Wetherby, UK.
The Affimer platform is an alternative to antibodies derived from a small human protein. Despite their shortcomings, antibodies currently dominate markets worth in excess of $100bn. Affimer technology has been designed to address many of these negative performance issues, principally: the time taken, and the reliance on an animal's immune response, to generate new antibodies; poor specificity in many cases; large size and cost.
Avacta's pre|CISION targeted chemotherapy platform, releases active chemotherapy only in the tumour, thereby limiting systemic exposure and damage to healthy tissues, and thereby improving the overall safety and therapeutic potential of these powerful anti-cancer treatments.
By combining these two platforms the Company is building a wholly owned pipeline of novel cancer therapies with the aim of creating effective treatments for all cancer patients including those who do not respond to existing immunotherapies. Avacta expects to take its first drug, a pre|CISION targeted form of the standard-of-care Doxorubicin, into the clinic in the middle of 2020.
Avacta has established drug development partnerships with pharma and biotech, including with Moderna Therapeutics Inc., a deal with LG Chem worth up to $310m, and a partnership with ADC Therapeutics. Avacta actively seeks to license its proprietary platforms in a range of therapeutic areas.
Avacta diagnostics business unit works with partners world-wide to develop Affimers for evaluation by those third parties with the objective of establishing royalty bearing license deals. The Company is also developing a small in-house pipeline of Affimer-based diagnostic assays for licensing.
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This update follows the initial announcement of Avacta's multi-target Affimer therapeutics development alliance with LG Chem Life Sciences in December 2018.
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