The developer of Affimer biotherapeutics and reagents, released a statement ahead of its annual general meeting, highlighting a number of developments in 2018 that validated its technology and business model.
Chief executive officer, Dr Alastair Smith, said 2018 had been a period of “very strong progress”.
Among the highlights of the year were the partnership with LG Chem, which sent the company’s shares soaring in December, and the research collaboration with leading scientists at Tufts University Medical School.
The company also announced a licensing deal last year with New England Biolabs and appointed Jose Saro as the chief medical officer.
“As we move our first programmes into the clinic we are all looking forward to working with Jose to validate the Affimer platform in-human and build an exciting pipeline of valuable therapeutic assets,” Dr Smith said.
The company said it is continuing to build the in-vivo (i.e. in living cells) pharmacology data packages for its lead immune checkpoint programmes, the PDL1 and LAG3 antagonists. The company is aiming to initiate first-in-human clinical studies for the Affimer drug platform in 2020.
“I look forward to updating the market on progress during 2019 which I expect to be a year of very significant progress for the company," Smith added.
House broker finnCap said the updates relating to its TMAC Affimer drug conjugate platform and its collaboration with Moderna are encouraging, and provide further evidence of the incremental value being created in the Affimer-driven technology platforms.
“Management is confident that there will be multiple reagent licensing deals in 2019, given the pipeline of late-stage interest from potential parties. Equally, we would hope/expect further therapeutic licences during 2019, given the preclinical progress that is being made, and building on the LG Chem development deal in December, which has a bio-dollar value of up to US$300mln plus royalties,” the broker said, as it reiterated its target price of 120p.
Avacta shares were up 1.1p at 38.5p in lunchtime trading.