Avacta Group plc (AIM: AVCT), the developer of Affimer® biotherapeutics and reagents, notes the recent press speculation about UK Government take-up of Avacta’s lateral flow SARS-CoV-2 rapid antigen test.
As announced on 16 February, the Company has analysed the first clinical data for its SARS-CoV-2 rapid antigen test from ongoing studies in Europe and the UK . These data show excellent performance of the test in identifying patients with an infectious viral load, with 96.7% sensitivity and 100% specificity using anterior nasal swab samples from 30 COVID-19 positive patients and 26 negative individuals. The Company is now progressing to a full clinical validation with a larger number of patient samples in order to obtain a CE mark for the test for professional use, aiming to bring the test to market in Europe around the end of the first quarter of this year.
The press report this weekend incorrectly stated that a saliva-based rapid antigen test from Avacta had been evaluated at Porton Down. In fact, the evaluated test was the anterior nasal swab test that has subsequently generated the excellent initial clinical performance data outlined above. However, in its evaluation Porton Down used artificial samples and did not use clinical samples.
We believe an accurate, rapid antigen test, that has been appropriately validated, will help to limit the spread of the coronavirus and support the safe return to work and play. In the UK, the DHSC is a potential customer and partner in the roll out of such a validated test. While Avacta continues to be in dialogue with the DHSC, and with other organisations in the UK and abroad, with a view to future supply of its rapid antigen test, it is prioritising the full clinical validation of its nasal swab-based SARS-CoV-2 rapid antigen test as a pre-requisite for CE marking and broad commercialisation.
The Group will update the market fully through the appropriate channels as it reaches significant commercial and technical milestones.
About Avacta Group plc – https://www.avacta.com
Avacta Group is developing novel cancer immunotherapies and powerful diagnostics based on its two proprietary platforms – Affimer® biologics and pre|CISION™ tumour targeted chemotherapies.
The Affimer platform is an alternative to antibodies derived from a small human protein. Despite their shortcomings, antibodies currently dominate markets, such as diagnostics and therapeutics, worth in excess of $100bn. Affimer technology has been designed to address many of these negative performance issues, principally: the time taken to generate new antibodies and the reliance on an animal’s immune response; poor specificity in many cases; their large size, complexity and high cost of manufacture.
Avacta’s pre|CISION targeted chemotherapy platform releases active chemotherapy in the tumour, which limits the systemic exposure that causes damage to healthy tissues, and thereby improves the overall safety and therapeutic potential of these powerful anti-cancer treatments.
The Group comprises two divisions: The therapeutics development activities are based in Cambridge, UK and the Group is generating near-term revenues from Affimer reagents for diagnostics, bioprocessing and research, through a separate diagnostics business unit based in Wetherby, UK.
Avacta’s Diagnostics Division works with partners world-wide to develop bespoke Affimer reagents for third party products. The Company is also developing an in-house pipeline of Affimer-based diagnostic assays including the AffiDXTM SARS-CoV-2 Lateral Flow Rapid Antigen Test and a BAMSTM SARS-CoV-2 Assay in partnership with Adeptrix Inc.
Avacta’s Therapeutics Division is addressing a critical gap in current cancer treatment – the lack of a durable response to current immunotherapies experienced by most patients. By combining its two proprietary platforms the Company is building a wholly owned pipeline of novel cancer therapies deigned to be effective for all cancer patients. In 2021 Avacta will commence a phase 1 first-in-human, open label, dose-escalation and expansion study of AVA6000 Pro-doxorubicin, the Company’s lead pre|CISIONTM prodrug, in patients with locally advanced or metastatic selected solid tumours.
Avacta has established drug development partnerships with pharma and biotech, including a research collaboration with Moderna Therapeutics Inc., a multi-target deal with LG Chem worth up to $400m, a joint venture in South Korea with Daewoong Pharmaceutical focused on cell and gene therapies incorporating Affimer immune-modulators, a partnership with ADC Therapeutics to develop Affimer-drug conjugates and a collaboration with Point Biopharma to develop radiopharmaceuticals based on the pre|CISIONTM platform. Avacta actively seeks to license its proprietary platforms in a range of therapeutic areas.
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