$5bn Sanofi acquisition highlights Avacta potential, says CEO
Avacta Group plc in Cambridge, which develops Affimer® biotherapeutics and research reagents, reports major progress in commercialising the technology as well as healthy financial results for the six months to January 31.
Half year revenues increased 16 per cent to £1.5 million and the operating loss only narrowly widened to £4.5m (£3.9m FY17), with research and development costs increasing to £1.5m (£1.3m FY17).
The reported loss was £3.9m (£3.4m FY17) and Avacta had cash balances of £8.3m (£13.2m 31 July 2017).
Avacta reported strong progress with in-house programme and said it was in discussions with multiple pharma and biotech operators regarding Affimer therapeutics opportunities. It said its pipeline of opportunities continued to grow across multiple applications.
CEO Alastair Smith, said: “The group has delivered strongly against the objectives set out in 2015 when it raised funds to initiate an Affimer drug development programme and to begin commercialisation of Affimer reagents.
“We remain focused on the key objective of generating clinical data for our lead Affimer therapeutic programme. This first-time-in-human data is a significant value inflection point for the technology and a major de-risking point from a partnering perspective.
“Whilst we progress towards the clinic in 2020, the group will continue to build-out a potentially transformative pipeline of assets in immuno-oncology.
“Avacta is confident that partnerships can be established for assets in this pipeline before the technology is in the clinic, but we also believe that the value of these deals will rise markedly when the first Affimer human clinical data is obtained.
“We will continue to grow the Affimer reagents revenue during this time period, with a focus on long term recurring royalty revenue rather than short term services income, with the objective of creating a potentially stand-alone business unit.
“As a proven platform technology addressing multiple markets, the downside risk is low, with significant upside potential as we build a pipeline of valuable drug assets.
“Sanofi’s recent acquisition of a clinical stage comparator to Avacta (Ablynx) for $5 billion highlights the potential valuation of a clinical stage platform technology like Affimers with a pipeline of assets in development.”
• PHOTOGRAPH SHOWS: Alastair Smith