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Avacta Group looks to Asia for partner as it plans first Affimer clinical trial

In-vivo data will be key in securing licensing deals with large pharmaceutical companies

Avacta Group Plc (LON:AVCT) said it is looking to Asia to find a partner as it spelt out the milestones for its Affimer therapeutics and reagents up until 2021.

Speaking at a capital markets day, Alastair Smith, chief executive, said that by 2021 Avacta wants to have a recurring revenue stream from Affimer reagent licences and to be a clinical-stage biotech with multiple clinical stage programmes.

READ: Interest in Avacta’s Affimer technology continues to grow as biotech unveils latest research partnership

Affimers are proteins that can be engineered to target particular diseases.

Smith added that in-vivo data would be key in securing licensing deals with large pharmaceutical companies and indicated that Asia was a region that the group would be targeting.

Avacta's first programme, a PD-L1 antagonist cancer treatment, is on track to make an IND (investigational new drug) filing in 2019/2020 and to begin phase 1 clinical trials in 2020, Smith said.

READ: Avacta boss praises “strong” progress made in first half

Cancer treatments in the immuno-oncology field are focusing on combination therapies, he added, and Avacta’s PD-L1 assets developed can provide a backbone for future combinations with, for example, LAG-3 inhibitors, another cancer halting application being worked on by Avacta.

The company, which developed the first Affimer therapeutic candidate for clinical development,  now has a pipeline of ten discovery/pre-clinical programmes from which two or three will be chosen.

During the day, Dr Amrik Basran, chief scientific officer, also highlighted the recent development of the Affimer XT platform technology which can extend the time that another Affimer drug spends in the bloodstream.  

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