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Avacta Group plc. (7/14/16). "Press Release: Avacta and Glythera Announce Collaboration to Develop Novel, Potentially Highly Potent, Drug Class".

Organisations Organisation Avacta Group plc (AIM: AVCT)
  Group Avacta (Group)
  Organisation 2 Glythera Ltd.
  Today Iksuda Therapeutics Ltd.
  Group Iksuda Therapeutics Ltd.
Products Product biopharmaceutical
  Product 2 PermaLink™ technology platform
Person Person Simpson, David (Dave) (Glythera 201801 CEO before COO)

· The collaboration will evaluate the use of Avacta's Affimer technology in combination with Glythera's PermaLink conjugation chemistry

· Generation of a new class of highly targeted bio-therapeutics as a potentially superior alternative to antibody drug conjugates (ADCs), a market estimated to be worth $10bn by 2024

Avacta Group plc (AIM: AVCT) ("Avacta" or "the Group") the developer of Affimer® biotherapeutics and research reagents and Glythera Limited the developer of advanced, stable conjugation chemistries and novel, ultra-potent toxin payloads, today announce that they have established a collaboration to evaluate the use of Glythera's PermaLink™ conjugation chemistry in combination with Avacta's Affimer technology with the aim of developing a new class of highly targeted bio-therapeutics as a superior alternative to the established class of antibody drug conjugates (ADCs).

ADCs use an antibody to which a toxin/chemotherapy payload is chemically attached for targeted delivery to a tumour. Over 50 ADCs are currently in clinical development; of these, approximately a quarter are in Phase II or Phase III. The market is estimated to be worth around $1bn today from two approved compounds and is expected to be worth $10bn annually by 20241.

The combined potential benefits of the Affimer and PermaLink technologies have the potential to create an analogous leading protein drug conjugate platform with a number of benefits over current ADC offerings. Use of Avacta's Affimer technology (i) provides the ability to closely control the position and number of toxins in the payload; (ii) has the benefit of much shorter development times (iii) has the flexibility to "design-in" the required pharmacokinetics (the time the drug spends in the blood stream), and (iv) is much easier, more consistent and has lower cost production. The small size of the Affimer molecule is likely to also improve tumour penetration compared with antibodies which are ten times larger in size.

Another major issue facing ADCs is the limited stability of chemical linkages currently used to attach the toxin to the antibody resulting in the toxin coming off the antibody and causing "off-target" and often severe, side effects. Glythera's PermaLink chemical linkers provide much more stable attachment of the toxin/chemotherapy and can potentially reduce such off-target toxicity effects.

Under the terms of the agreement, the companies will develop materials and methods to be used in the generation of Affimer-drug conjugates. The proof of concept study aims to demonstrate the key technical and commercial benefits of the combination over traditional antibody and linker approaches. The two companies will partner to offer Affimer-drug conjugate development services, and licensing of the combined platform, to pharmaceutical developers.


Dr Alastair Smith, Chief Executive Officer, Avacta, commented:

"At the half year we set out a detailed commercial strategy for Affimer reagents and therapeutics. We highlighted the importance of commercial partnerships in order to make rapid progress in the areas of strategic focus. In that context we recently announced a collaboration with Mologic to develop Affimer based lateral flow devices which would open up the rapid diagnostics market opportunity and today we are very pleased to report the establishment of this collaboration with Glythera in the area of ADCs, another important application area for Affimer technology.

Avacta's Affimer technology has significant benefits for drug conjugate development, and the combination of the two companies' technologies has the potential to deliver a best-in-class solution for those wishing to access such a platform. We are therefore confident that this partnership with Glythera will further demonstrate the utility of the Affimer platform as a powerful approach to generating a broad range of biotherapeutics, creating opportunities for third party licensing of the platform with the potential to generate long-term value for both companies.

We continue to make good progress across all aspects of the strategy that we set out and I look forward to further updating the market in due course."

Dr Dave Simpson, Chief Executive Officer, Glythera, said:

"Combining Glythera's PermaLink conjugation chemistry with Avacta's Affimer technology will demonstrate the benefits of PermaLink across a new targeting molecule class, opening additional avenues for bringing novel therapeutic assets to market. This is an exciting step forward in bio-therapeutic development, and could lead to improved patient outcomes."


Notes to Editors

For further information from Avacta Group plc, please contact:

Avacta Group plc
Alastair Smith, Chief Executive Officer
Tony Gardiner, Chief Financial Officer
Tel: +44 (0) 844 414 0452

Numis Securities Limited
Michael Meade / Freddie Barnfield - Nominated Adviser
James Black - Corporate Broking
Tel: +44 (0) 207 260 1000

WG Partners
David Wilson
Nigel Barnes
Claes Spang
Tel: +44 (0) 203 705 9318
Tel: +44 (0) 203 705 9217

Zyme Communications (Trade and Regional Media)
Katie Odgaard
Tel: +44 (0)7787 502 947

FTI Consulting (Financial Media and IR)
Simon Conway / Natalie Garland-Collins
Tel: +44 (0) 203 727 1000

For further information from Glythera, please contact:

Glythera Ltd
Dave Simpson, Chief Executive Officer
Ian Evetts, Chief Business Officer
Tel: +44 (0) 191 6031680

About Avacta Group plc (

Avacta's principal focus is on its proprietary Affimer® technology which is a novel engineered alternative to antibodies that has wide application in Life Sciences for diagnostics, therapeutics and general research and development.

Antibodies dominate markets worth in excess of $50bn despite their shortcomings. Affimer technology has been designed to address many of these negative performance issues, principally; the time taken to generate new antibodies, the reliance on an animal's immune response, poor specificity in many cases, and batch to batch variability. Affimer technology is based on a small protein that can be quickly generated to bind with high specificity and affinity to a wide range of protein targets.

Avacta has a pre-clinical biotech development programme with an in-house focus on immuno-oncology and bleeding disorders as well as partnered development programmes. Avacta is commercialising non-therapeutic Affimer reagents through licensing to developers of life sciences research tools and diagnostics.

About Glythera Limited

Glythera, an IP Group portfolio company, specialises in the development of next generation biotherapeutics, through the application of its advanced proprietary linker and stable glycan technologies: PermaLink™ and PermaCarb™. Our linker technology platforms have the potential to enhance and strengthen pharmaceutical drug candidates.

Biotherapeutics are an integral part of modern medicine, particularly in the oncology space, due to their efficacious properties and ability to target specific molecules within the human body. The Antibody Drug Conjugate (ADC) field is a key area within the protein and antibody engineering industry. ADCs are complex molecules composed of an antibody linked to a biological active cytotoxic (anti-cancer) drug. A stable link between the antibody and cytotoxic agent is a crucial aspect of an ADC. Glythera's highly specific, stable linker technology addresses many of the instability issues faced by current conjugation methods. Our technology platforms enable efficient and cost effective development and manufacture of new efficacious biologics that improve half-life and optimize bio-availability and which are highly specific, stable, robust and safe.

Glythera's PermaLink™ technology is a controlled, stable conjugation platform composed of a portfolio of linker designs. PermaLink™ can be employed for the selective and stable functionalization and conjugation of various cargos to proteins and peptides.

PermaCarb™ is a highly stable sialic acid derivative which can be conjugated to a glycan of choice via an enzyme mediated reaction during downstream processing in a scalable and compliant fashion. Our stable glycan technology PermaCarb™ is designed to facilitate the creation of biotherapeutics which can be administered at lower doses and/or reduced frequency.

Record changed: 2016-07-18


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