- AffyXell, Avacta’s joint venture with Daewoong Pharmaceutical, expands its manufacturing partnership with GenScript ProBio for cell therapies
- GenScript ProBio agrees to take an equity stake in AffyXell as a strategic investor at next funding round
London and Wetherby, UK, 16 May 2022: Avacta Group plc (AIM: AVCT), a clinical stage oncology drug company developing innovative cancer therapies and powerful diagnostics based on its proprietary pre|CISION™ and Affimer® platforms, is pleased to announce that AffyXell, its joint venture with South Korean drug maker Daewoong Pharmaceutical, has expanded its strategic partnership with GenScript ProBio, a leading biopharmaceutical manufacturer.
AffyXell is a joint venture established in January 2020 by Daewoong Pharmaceutical and Avacta, developing the next generation of cell and gene therapies based on mesenchymal stem cells which incorporate Affimer® immunotherapies. This new class of stem cell therapy is designed to produce Affimer® proteins, in situ in the body, that reduce inflammatory or autoimmune responses to the stem cell therapy to potentially enhance their therapeutic effects.
GenScript ProBio, part of Genscript Biotech Corporation (HKG: 1548), is a leading global contract development and manufacturing organisation providing a best-in-class, one-stop platform for research and development of biological drugs, DNA plasmids and lentiviruses, and for clinical production of cell and gene therapy products.
AffyXell and GenScript ProBio are extending their strategic manufacturing partnership, which they entered into in December 2021, that covers AffyXell’s first drug development programme to include additional future programmes. The partnership covers process development and production of viral vectors required for the production of AffyXell’s future cell therapy products. In addition, as part of this strategic alliance, GenScript has now committed to take an equity position in AffyXell at a future funding round, and the two companies will collaborate in the area of business development, including potential out licensing.
Dr Alastair Smith, Chief Executive Officer of Avacta, commented: “This is an important strategic partnership for AffyXell with a world leading contract development and manufacturing partner. The fact that GenScript ProBio are prepared to take a strategic equity stake in AffyXell is a very strong validation of the potential for AffyXell’s next generation cell and gene therapies, and the future valuation of the business.”
“We are delighted with the excellent progress being made by AffyXell with the Affimer® immunomodulators provided by Avacta under our joint venture agreement.”
Jongsang Ryu, Chief Executive Officer of AffyXell, commented: “We were able to attract strategic investment from the CDMO partner as the excellence and potential of our next-generation cell therapy platform have been recognized.”
“This agreement will be an opportunity to accelerate the development of therapies targeting intractable diseases, providing meaningful options for the suffering patients.”
Dr Brian Min, Chief Executive Officer of GenScript ProBio commented: “We are pleased to partner with AffyXell and are honored to support this next-generation cell therapy project with GenScript ProBio’s stable and high-yield viral vector platform. We expect many patients to benefit from this innovative genetically modified mesenchymal stem cells therapy soon.”