AffyXell $7.3 Million Series A Financing
1 February 2021
Avacta Group plc
("Avacta" or "the Group" or "the Company")
AffyXell $7.3 Million Series A Financing
Avacta's next generation cell and gene therapy joint venture with Daewoong Pharmaceutical secures Series A venture funding
Avacta Group plc (AIM: AVCT), the developer of Affimer® biotherapeutics and reagents, is pleased to announce that AffyXell Therapeutics ("AffyXell"), the joint venture with Daewoong Pharmaceutical ("Daewoong"), has closed a Series A venture capital investment of $7.3 million to further develop its pipeline of next generation cell and gene therapies.
AffyXell was established in January 2020 by Avacta and Daewoong as a Joint Venture to develop novel mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) therapies. AffyXell is combining Avacta's Affimer platform with Daewoong's MSC platform such that the stem cells are genetically modified to produce and secrete therapeutic Affimer proteins in situ in the patient. The Affimer proteins are designed to enhance the therapeutic effects of the MSC creating a novel, next generation cell therapy platform.
The Series A funding has been raised from a group of venture funds including Samsung Venture Investment Corporation, Shinhan Venture Investment, Smilegate Investment, Shinhan Investment Corporation, Kolon Investment, Stonebridge Ventures, and Gyeongnam Venture Investment.
The capital raised will be used by AffyXell to further the development of MSCs engineered to produce Affimer molecules generated by Avacta that suppress immune response and restore immune balance. While initially focusing on inflammatory and autoimmune diseases and prevention of organ transplant rejection, longer term goals could also include applications in regenerative medicine, infectious diseases and oncology.
Under the terms of the collaboration and licence agreement, Avacta's research and development costs associated with the generation of the Affimer proteins are funded by AffyXell whilst Avacta retains the rights to commercialise the Affimer proteins outside the field of cell therapies.
Dr Alastair Smith, Chief Executive Officer of Avacta Group, commented:
"The potential for AffyXell's new class of MSC therapies to deliver improved treatments for a wide range of inflammatory and autoimmune diseases is significant, in a market estimated to be worth $16bn by 2025. We expect these novel engineered MSCs to show a more powerful therapeutic effect than existing antibodies and stem cells and they therefore have the potential to lead the rapidly growing field of cell and gene therapy.
AffyXell is uniquely positioned to develop novel and powerful cell therapies through the combination of two world-class technologies: Avacta's Affimer platform and Daewoong's proprietary technology for generating "off-the-shelf" allogeneic MSC therapies. Completion of the Series A funding is a strong validation of this concept and moves us closer to providing these new therapies to the patients who need them.
I look forward to updating the market on AffyXell's further progress in due course."
Sengho Jeon, Chief Executive Officer of Daewoong Pharmaceutical and AffyXell Therapeutics, commented:
"AffyXell's successful Series A financing confirms the market's high expectations and interest in new MSC therapies. It is also very encouraging that the concept of this joint venture, which was established based on the excellent platform technologies of Daewoong Pharmaceutical and Avacta, gains recognition for its vision among venture funds.
We look forward to launching new class of MSC therapies that overcome the limitations of existing antibodies and cells and provide meaningful treatment options to patients suffering from refractory diseases."
This announcement contains information which, prior to its disclosure, was considered inside information for the purposes of Article 7 of Regulation (EU) No 596/2014 (MAR).
For further information from Avacta Group plc, please contact:
Avacta Group plc
Tel: +44 (0) 844 414 0452
Alastair Smith, Chief Executive Officer
Tony Gardiner, Chief Financial Officer
finnCap Ltd (Nominated Adviser and Joint Broker)
Tel: +44 (0) 207 220 0500
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Tim Redfern - ECM
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Tel: +44 (0) 207 710 7600
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About Avacta Group plc - https://www.avacta.com
Avacta Group is developing novel cancer immunotherapies and powerful diagnostics based on its two proprietary platforms - Affimer® biologics and pre|CISION™ tumour targeted chemotherapies.
The Affimer platform is an alternative to antibodies derived from a small human protein. Despite their shortcomings, antibodies currently dominate markets, such as diagnostics and therapeutics, worth in excess of $100bn. Affimer technology has been designed to address many of these negative performance issues, principally: the time taken to generate new antibodies and the reliance on an animal's immune response; poor specificity in many cases; their large size, complexity and high cost of manufacture.
Avacta's pre|CISION targeted chemotherapy platform releases active chemotherapy in the tumour, which limits the systemic exposure that causes damage to healthy tissues, and thereby improves the overall safety and therapeutic potential of these powerful anti-cancer treatments.
The Group comprises two divisions: The therapeutics development activities are based in Cambridge, UK and the Group is generating near-term revenues from Affimer reagents for diagnostics, bioprocessing and research, through a separate diagnostics business unit based in Wetherby, UK.
Avacta's Diagnostics Division works with partners world-wide to develop bespoke Affimer reagents for third party products. The Company is also developing an in-house pipeline of Affimer-based diagnostic assays including the AffiDXTM SARS-CoV-2 Lateral Flow Rapid Antigen Test and a BAMSTM SARS-CoV-2 Assay in partnership with Adeptrix Inc.
Avacta's Therapeutics Division is addressing a critical gap in current cancer treatment - the lack of a durable response to current immunotherapies experienced by most patients. By combining its two proprietary platforms the Company is building a wholly owned pipeline of novel cancer therapies deigned to be effective for all cancer patients. In 2021 Avacta will commence a phase 1 first-in-human, open label, dose-escalation and expansion study of AVA6000 Pro-doxorubicin, the Company's lead pre|CISIONTM prodrug, in patients with locally advanced or metastatic selected solid tumours.
Avacta has established drug development partnerships with pharma and biotech, including a research collaboration with Moderna Therapeutics Inc., a deal with LG Chem worth up to $400m, a partnership with ADC Therapeutics and a collaboration with Point Biopharma to develop radiopharmaceuticals based on the pre|CISIONTM platform. Avacta actively seeks to license its proprietary platforms in a range of therapeutic areas.
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