Focus on developing potent Affimer-drug conjugates

CAMBRIDGE, UK & LAUSANNE, Switzerland I Avacta Group plc (AIM: AVCT), a biotechnology company developing novel cancer immunotherapies based on its proprietary Affimer® platform, today announced that it has entered a collaboration and option agreement with ADC Therapeutics SA, a clinical-stage oncology-focused biotechnology company pioneering the development of highly potent and targeted antibody-drug conjugates for patients suffering from haematological malignancies and solid tumours. The agreement is to develop Affimer-drug conjugates combining Avacta’s Affimer technology with ADC Therapeutics’ pyrrolobenzodiazepine (PBD)-based warhead and linker technologies.

As part of the multi-target collaboration Avacta will generate and optimise Affimer binders against three undisclosed cancer targets and provide these to ADC Therapeutics to target its proprietary cytotoxic warheads (PBDs) to the site of the tumour. ADC Therapeutics will carry out pre-clinical research and development programmes to evaluate each of the Affimer-drug conjugates with a view to generating clinical candidates.

The commercial agreement between the two companies provides ADC Therapeutics with options, on a target by target basis, to obtain exclusive licenses to the Affimer proteins for clinical development and commercialisation.

Under the terms of the agreement, ADC Therapeutics will cover all Avacta’s costs during the collaboration. Upon ADC Therapeutics entering into each of the commercialisation licenses and successfully bringing new Affimer-drug conjugates to market, Avacta will receive option fees, development and commercialisation milestones, as well as a single-digit royalty on sales. Further financial details are not disclosed.

Dr Alastair Smith, Chief Executive Officer of Avacta Group, commented: “I am delighted to have established this collaboration with ADC Therapeutics to develop drug conjugates that harness the benefits of Affimer proteins to selectively and efficiently target ADC Therapeutics’ PBD drugs to the site of the tumour. We are very excited about the potential of this collaboration to develop breakthrough oncology treatments, and about its considerable commercial value to Avacta.

We look forward to working closely with the ADC Therapeutics team to generate new Affimer-drug conjugates and advance these promising cancer treatments into the clinic.”

SOURCE: Avacta Group