logo-loader
Avacta Group PLC

Avacta plans for exciting cancer immunotherapy

The group's technology releases chemo directly inside a tumour without exposing the whole body to toxins

clinic
The new treatment will target certain solid tumours

Avacta Group PLC (LON:AVCT) has said it will go to clinic “well ahead of original plans” with a drug candidate that combines its binding protein technology with chemotherapy.

The group's tumour microenvironment activated drug conjugates (TMAC) are a ground-breaking new form of cancer immunotherapy.

Co-invented with Tufts University Medical School of the US, TMAC brings together Avacta’s Affimers with chemotherapies in a single drug using a linker that is designed to only release the chemo in the tumour.

The plan is to gain permission for phase I trial in early 2020 to test the potential new treatment in people with certain types of solid tumours. 

Major milestone 

The company called the first-in-man study “a major de-risking milestone for the programme”.

"What is so attractive about Avacta's Affimer TMAC programme is that it offers a way to combine chemotherapy with immune checkpoint inhibitors without exposing the whole body to the same level of the chemo-toxin,” said chief executive Alastair Smith.

“Whilst immunotherapies offer great promise for cancer patients, it is well established that only a relatively small sub-group of patients see durable responses to single immune checkpoint therapies. Avacta is directly addressing this urgent clinical need with its novel Affimer TMAC and bispecific programmes,” he added.

Targeted approach 

In order to test the TMAC linker in humans for the first time, a chemo treatment called doxorubicin will be modified with the Avacta linker, rendering it inactive and harmless until the linker is split in the tumour, releasing an active cancer-killing agent. 

Doxorubicin has well-documented safety issues limiting its dosing, and also putting a cap on the number patients that can be treated with it. 

The shares rose 8% on the news, to change hands for 32.12p. Broker finnCap’s target price is 125p.

Analyst Mark Brewer told investors: “Not only is this testing of the TMAC linker well ahead of original plans, but it potentially creates additional sources of non-dilutive funding from licensing the linker to create effective chemotherapeutic pro-drugs that are currently limited by dose-limiting systemic toxicities.

“Proving the enzyme-sensitive linker works in humans also increases the prospect of licensing the Affimer TMAC platform before clinical data are generated from its first Affimer TMAC.”

Avacta's TMAC linker has been shown to increase the maximum tolerated dose by a factor of six in a pre-clinical study in mice.

----adds share price and broker comment---

Quick facts: Avacta Group PLC

Price: £0.22

Market: AIM
Market Cap: £26.02 m
Follow

Add related topics to MyProactive

Create your account: sign up and get ahead on news and events

NO INVESTMENT ADVICE

The Company is a publisher. You understand and agree that no content published on the Site constitutes a recommendation that any particular security, portfolio of securities, transaction, or investment strategy is...

In exchange for publishing services rendered by the Company on behalf of Avacta Group PLC named herein, including the promotion by the Company of Avacta Group PLC in any Content on the Site, the Company receives from...

FOR OUR FULL DISCLAIMER CLICK HERE

Watch

Investor Update: Green light for ValiRx to increase dose of VAL201

Top stories from the Proactive Investors UK newsroom. ValirX (LON:VAL) has received a boost for its prostate cancer treatment VAL201 after UK regulators approved a substantial increase in the doses allowed in future clinical trials. The phase I/II trial so far has met all primary and...

on 20/6/19

2 min read