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31 December, 2018 - 17:37 By Tony Quested

Avacta targets Disruptive Technology and Life Science Innovation awards

Avacta Alastair CEO Smith

AIM-quoted Avacta, has entered the Disruptive Technology and Life Science Innovation categories of the Business Weekly Awards.

Avacta’s Affimer® technology is a novel engineered alternative to antibodies with significant commercial and technical benefits that provide major competitive advantages in drug development and diagnostics. 

The company has multiple immuno-oncology assets in the pipeline, with the lead PD-L1 programme and PD-L1/LAG-3 bispecific therapy on track for first-time-in-human trials in 2020. Partnerships, including with FIT Biotech, Iksuda Therapeutics, OncoSec, and Tufts University, have been established and shown excellent progress. 

Avacta has grown its revenue stream based on non-therapeutic applications of the technology, including four anti-idiotypic binders. 

Affimer reagents are being evaluated by a number of third-parties, with licensing deals anticipated near-term.

CEO Alastair Smith says: Our mission is to shape the future of medicine by developing safe and efficacious drugs based on our proprietary Affimer® platform and by providing powerful Affimer® reagents for research and diagnostics

“At Avacta we have developed Affimer technology, an engineered alternative to antibodies. Based on a small protein, Affimer technology can be quickly developed to bind with high specificity and affinity to a wide range of targets.

“Affimer proteins can be developed as therapeutic molecules and can be used in a wide range of other life sciences applications in research and diagnostics.”

Avacta has set up a potentially lucrative royalty stream through a licensing deal with New England Biolabs® (NEB) in Massachusetts.

NEB, a global leader in the discovery and production of enzymes for molecular biology applications, is to commercialise a product using Avacta’s Affimer technology for use in both life science research and diagnostics assays.

Financial details of the agreement were not disclosed but Avacta said it would receive a royalty on product sales, perhaps as early as 2019.

Avacta and NEB have been collaborating to develop Affimers to combine with NEB’s reagents. Avacta has identified Affimers that specifically inhibit certain NEB proprietary enzymes to provide modulation of their activity in response to temperature.

Unlike alternative enzyme inhibitors, Affimers can be fine-tuned to switch at the right temperature without having a negative effect on the overall assay performance.

NEB is in the final stages of product testing and the two companies have agreed terms under which NEB will commercialise the combined product. NEB and Avacta expect to continue the collaboration to generate Affimer tools and inhibitors to other enzymes, enabling further product developments.

To enter the Business Weekly Awards visit

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