Avacta Group plc (AIM: AVCT), the developer of Affimer® biotherapeutics and reagents, is pleased to announce that its initial study with Glythera Limited, the developer of next generation antibody drug conjugates, has concluded successfully. Following this study the two companies have agreed the terms of a licensing deal which will allow them to develop drug conjugates using the combined technologies. The detailed terms of the license have not been disclosed but Avacta would receive development milestone payments and royalties on sales of an approved drug developed by Glythera.
The antibody drug conjugate market is estimated to be worth around $1bn today from two approved compounds and is expected to be worth $14.6bn annually by 20301. Drug conjugates combine a chemotherapy (toxin) with a protein such as an antibody or Affimer to target that toxin to the tumor.
Avacta and Glythera have carried out a proof-of-concept study designed to demonstrate that Avacta’s Affimer® technology could be combined with Glythera’s Permalink® conjugation chemistry to provide a technically superior drug conjugate platform with shorter development times, simpler, more consistent production and greater chemical stability. An Affimer, compared with a much larger antibody, potentially also allows greater control over the time the drug spends in the blood stream and deeper tumor penetration producing a more effective medicine with fewer toxic side effects.
Importantly, the initial trial has also shown that the Affimer remains functional when the toxic payload has been added indicating that the combination of the two technologies has the potential to develop drug conjugate therapies.
Dr Alastair Smith, Avacta Group Chief Executive Officer, commented: “The drug conjugate market is a very important one for the Affimer technology because of the key benefits of Affimers’ solvent stability, controlled conjugation chemistry and small size which have now been clearly demonstrated. When combined with the benefits of Glythera’s Permalink chemistry, we believe that there is potential to create a competitive, differentiated drug conjugate platform.
I am delighted with the reciprocal arrangements that we have put in place with Glythera allowing both companies to develop Affimer-Permalink drug conjugates and I look forward to updating the market on progress in Avacta’s drug development programmes in due course.”