Cambridge and Wetherby, UK, 13 April 2022: Avacta Group plc (AIM: AVCT), a clinical stage oncology drug company and developer of powerful diagnostics based on its innovative Affimer® and pre|CISION™ platforms, is pleased to announce that a milestone equity payment has been triggered resulting in an increase in Avacta’s shareholding in AffyXell Therapeutics (“AffyXell”), a joint venture between Avacta and Daewoong Pharmaceutical (“Daewoong”) in South Korea.
Avacta has successfully developed and characterised Affimer® proteins against the first target for AffyXell and has now transferred intellectual property relating to Affimer® proteins against that target into AffyXell, triggering an agreed milestone in the joint venture agreement. In exchange for this, Avacta has received an increase in its equity stake in AffyXell, which was diluted from its founding equity stake in February 2021 when AffyXell completed a Series A financing of $7.3 million from a group of venture funds in February 2021. Avacta’s shareholding in the joint venture now stands at 22%.
AffyXell was established in January 2020 by Avacta and Daewoong as a joint venture to develop novel mesenchymal stem cell (“MSC”) therapies. AffyXell is combining Avacta’s Affimer® platform with Daewoong’s MSC platform such that the stem cells are genetically modified to produce and secrete therapeutic Affimer® proteins with immuno-modulatory effects in situ in the patient. The Affimer® proteins are designed to enhance the therapeutic effects of the MSC creating a novel, next generation cell therapy platform.
Dr Alastair Smith, Chief Executive Officer of Avacta Group, commented: “AffyXell is uniquely positioned to develop novel and powerful cell therapies through the combination of two world-class technologies, Avacta’s Affimer® platform and Daewoong’s proprietary technology for generating ‘off-the-shelf’ allogeneic MSC therapies.”
“We are delighted that Affimer® molecules have been successfully generated against the first target and that the intellectual property has been transferred to AffyXell, triggering this important milestone.”
“We are working closely with our colleagues in AffyXell and Daewoong at this exciting stage in combining the two platforms to deliver cutting-edge therapies for patients.”
Sengho Jeon, Chief Executive Officer of Daewoong Pharmaceutical and AffyXell Therapeutics, commented: “Daewoong Pharmaceutical will continue the open collaboration program with Avacta through AffyXell and expand its new drug pipelines for the future.”
“We will further focus on the development of next-generation cell therapies that can substantially improve the quality of life of patients suffering from intractable diseases.”