23 January 2020
Avacta Group plc
("Avacta" or "the Group" or "the Company")
Strong revenue growth and cash position
Avacta Group plc (AIM: AVCT), the developer of Affimer® biotherapeutics and reagents, is pleased to announce a trading update for the 17 month period ended 31 December 2019.
Revenues for the period, which include the initial milestone payment from LG Chem, have grown 100% to £5.5m from £2.76m (12 months ended 31 July 2018) and are ahead of market expectations. Importantly revenues from the Affimer® diagnostics business have grown by 130% as more customer evaluations of the Affimer® platform are underway. The Group's order intake and sales pipeline into 2020 are the strongest to date.
The Group's revenues this year will benefit from the expanded LG Chem partnership, the new collaboration established with ADC Therapeutics and the recently announced joint venture with Daewoong Pharmaceuticals; each of which will fully fund Avacta's related R&D activities.
The cash position at 31 December 2019 was £8.7m (31 July 2018: £5.2m), also ahead of market forecasts, following completion of the placing in November 2019. The Group is focusing its resources on its partnered programmes and on taking its first pre|CISION pro-drug, AVA6000, into the clinic in the second half of 2020.
The Group intends to announce its audited results for the 17 months ended 31 December 2019 in late March 2020.
Dr Alastair Smith, Chief Executive of Avacta Group, commented:
"We are delighted with the significant commercial and operational progress that has been made during the period, expanding our therapeutic development partnership with LG Chem and adding new collaborations with ADC Therapeutics and with Daewoong. Our diagnostics business has continued to gain traction and is poised for continued growth in 2020 which should ultimately lead to license revenues.
"We are also due to take our first drug AVA6000, a re-engineered form of the chemotherapy Doxorubicin into the clinic in the middle of 2020, making it a ground-breaking year for the Group. AVA6000 has been modified with Avacta's pre|CISION technology to reduce the side effects without affecting the efficacy of this effective cancer treatment. The initial readout, which aims to show that the side effects of this chemotherapy have been reduced, are expected before the end of the year which represents a major value inflection point for Avacta and a significant commercial opportunity.
"I am therefore looking ahead with confidence and believe 2020 will be an exciting year of further progress."
- Ends -
This announcement contains inside information for the purposes of Article 7 of Regulation (EU) 596/2014 (MAR)
For further information from Avacta Group plc, please contact:
Avacta Group plc
Alastair Smith, Chief Executive Officer
Tony Gardiner, Chief Financial Officer
Tel: +44 (0) 844 414 0452
finnCap Ltd (Nominated Adviser and Joint Broker)
Geoff Nash / Giles Rolls - Corporate Finance
Tim Redfern - ECM
Tel: +44 (0) 207 220 0500
Yellow Jersey PR (Financial Media and IR)
Zyme Communications (Trade and Regional Media)
Tel: +44 (0)7764 947 137
Tel: +44 (0)7951 402 336
Tel: +44 (0)7787 502 947
About Avacta Group plc - https://www.avacta.com
Avacta is developing novel cancer immunotherapies combining its two proprietary platforms - Affimer® biotherapeutics and pre|CISION™ tumour targeted chemotherapy. With this approach, the Company aims to address the lack of a durable response to current immunotherapies experienced by most patients. The Company's therapeutics development activities are based in Cambridge, UK.
The Company benefits from near-term revenues generated from Affimer reagents for diagnostics, bioprocessing and research, through a separate business unit based in Wetherby, UK.
The Affimer platform is an alternative to antibodies derived from a small human protein. Despite their shortcomings, antibodies currently dominate markets worth in excess of $100bn. Affimer technology has been designed to address many of these negative performance issues, principally: the time taken, and the reliance on an animal's immune response, to generate new antibodies; poor specificity in many cases; large size and cost.
Avacta's pre|CISION platform, activates chemotherapy only in the tumour, thereby limiting systemic exposure and damage to healthy tissues, and thus improving the overall safety and therapeutic potential of these powerful anti-cancer treatments.
By combining these two platforms the Company is building a wholly owned pipeline of novel cancer therapies with the aim of creating effective treatments for all cancer patients including those who do not respond to existing immunotherapies. Avacta expects to take its first drug, a pre|CISION targeted form of the standard-of-care Doxorubicin, into the clinic in the middle of 2020.
Avacta has established drug development partnerships with pharma and biotech, including with Moderna Therapeutics Inc., a collaboration with LG Chem to develop treatments for autoimmune and inflammatory diseases worth up to $310m, a partnership with ADC Therapeutics to develop Affimer drug conjugates and a joint venture in South Korea with Daewoong Pharmaceuticals to develop the next generation of stem cell therapies that incorporate Affimer immuno-modulators. Avacta actively seeks to license its proprietary platforms in a range of therapeutic areas.
The Avacta diagnostics business unit works with partners world-wide to develop Affimers for evaluation by those third parties with the objective of establishing royalty bearing license deals. The Company is also developing a small in-house pipeline of Affimer-based diagnostic assays for licensing.
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