Avacta has announced an extension to its collaboration and license agreement with Daewoong Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. (KSX: 069620, ‘Daewoong’). AffyXell Therapeutics, the joint venture established in South Korea by the two companies, will now also undertake research covering the SARS-COV-2 neutralising Affimer molecules for the treatment of COVID-19, while also ensuring that it is prepared for rapid development of similar therapies for future global pandemics. Given that the JV’s research & development costs are fully funded by Daewoong, Avacta has effectively established a low-cost means by which to actively participate in the exciting field of cell and gene therapy, while still retaining all therapeutic right to Affirmers outside these areas. Although AffyXell is still a young business, the direction of resources, IP and timely application by its founding companies suggests opportunity for substantial value creation exists. Possibly this was best highlighted in a recent white paper by Pharma Intelligence that detailed acquisitions of such early clinical stage assets being completed in the range of US$1bn to US$5bn over the past 12 months.
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