Avacta Group Announces Achievement of Preclinical Development Milestone in LG Chem Life Sciences Partnership
Avacta Group plc recently announced a preclinical development milestone has been achieved in the multi-target therapeutics development partnership with LG Chem Life Sciences, the life sciences division of the South Korean LG Group, triggering an undisclosed milestone payment.
Avacta and LG Chem have a multi-target therapeutics development agreement to develop Affimer therapeutics in several disease areas. As part of the agreement, LG Chem has the exclusive rights to develop and commercialize, on a world-wide basis, Avacta’s Affimer PD-L1 inhibitor with Affimer XT serum half-life extension.
LG Chem has successfully completed certain preclinical in-vivo models in the PD-L1/XT program leading to the selection of a preclinical candidate for further development towards the clinic and triggering an undisclosed milestone payment.
The partnership also provides LG Chem with rights to develop and commercialize other Affimer and non-Affimer biotherapeutics combined with Affimer XT half-life extension for a range of indications and Avacta could earn up to $55 million in milestone payments for each of these new products. In addition, under the agreement, Avacta will earn royalties on all future Affimer XT product sales by LG Chem.
Dr. Alastair Smith, Chief Executive of Avacta Group, commented “I am delighted with the progress in our important strategic partnership with LG Chem. LG Chem is a world-class drug development partner with excellent biologics manufacturing and clinical development capabilities and a pioneering vision to develop innovative drugs. I am particularly pleased that we have achieved this significant milestone with a novel Affimer bispecific product, which highlights the tremendous promise of the Affimer platform.”
Affimer XT is a system for extending the time a drug spends in the circulation (serum half-life extension). Affimer XT comprises an Affimer that binds to a large blood protein called Serum Albumin that is too large to be cleared rapidly from the circulation. Half-life extension can be achieved by linking Affimer XT to a small drug such as an Affimer PD-L1 inhibitor to make a bispecific drug molecule. A small drug that might otherwise be cleared through the kidneys in a matter of hours, will remain in the circulation for many days if attached to Serum Albumin via Affimer XT. A long serum half-life increases the exposure of a tumour to the drug and potentially therefore improves the therapeutic effect.
Avacta Group is developing novel cancer immunotherapies and powerful diagnostics based on its two proprietary platforms – Affimer biologics and pre|CISION tumor-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 $100 billion. 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 tumor, 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 London and 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 is developing an in-house pipeline of Affimer-based diagnostic assays, including the AffiDX SARS-CoV-2 Lateral Flow Rapid Antigen Test, and works with partners world-wide to develop bespoke Affimer reagents for third party products.
Avacta’s Therapeutics Division is working to deliver a more tolerable and durable treatment response for oncology patients who do not respond to existing immunotherapies. By combining its two proprietary platforms the Group is building a wholly owned pipeline of clinically differentiated cancer therapies, aiming to extend the therapeutic benefits to all cancer patients. In 2021 Avacta transitioned to become a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company, commencing a phase I first-in-human, open label, dose-escalation and expansion study of AVA6000, a pro-doxorubicin, the Group’s lead pre|CISION prodrug, in patients with locally advanced or metastatic selected solid tumors.
Avacta has established drug development partnerships with pharma and biotech, including a research collaboration with ModernaTX, Inc. (formerly Moderna Therapeutics Inc.), a multi-target deal with LG Chem worth up to $400m, a joint venture in South Korea with Daewoong Pharmaceutical focused on cell and gene therapies incorporating Affimer immune-modulators and a collaboration with Point Biopharma to develop radiopharmaceuticals based on the pre|CISION platform. Avacta continues to actively seek to license its proprietary platforms in a range of therapeutic areas.
LG Chem Life Sciences is a business division within LG Chem, engaged in the development, manufacturing, as well as commercialising pharmaceutical products globally. LG Chem Life Sciences seeks to expand and make global presence by focusing on key core therapeutic areas of Immunology, Oncology, and Metabolic Diseases (specifically, diabetes and related metabolic diseases). To achieve such, its strategy is to actively pursue global collaboration encompassing from asset-centric to strategic investment and collaboration.
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