Am I happy that I'm invested here. Yes.
Do I believe in the technology. Yes.
I have a target between 10 and 50 times the current market cap, so depending on how much extra cash is needed to get to those transformational commercial deals, still rates a good risk reward play for now.
cash extract ( though worth a read overall re dev pipeline)
Maintained strong cash position: Moderna has maintained a strong cash position in 2017. As of June 30, 2017, the company had $1.098 billion in cash, as compared to $1.307 billion in cash as of December 31, 2016. This affords Moderna several years of runway to support its continued growth and pipeline acceleration.
they are becoming more and more open this year - presumably with a future public fund raise in mind
as we know from our trading update ahead of annual results
Partnership with Moderna expanded to include more drug targets
noted on website as well - however don't ask me for any further explanation - lol
These exciting findings by David Komanders group using Affimer reagents open the door to the investigation of both atypical K6 and K33 ubiquitin linkages across the biological field, which has proven previously impossible in this way, and holds potential impact for drug discovery within this developing field.
While AstraZeneca has suffered a serious setback in the hot field of cancer immunotherapy, a host of comparative minnows, undeterred, are pressing ahead with allied technologies that promise millions in future revenue.
The Cambridge-based companys so-called Mystic trial, which might have propelled it to the front of the field in combination treatments had it succeeded, instead showed no superiority to chemotherapy for sufferers from non-small cell lung cancer, whose disease had already spread to other organs.
The verdict was not definitive, and overall survival data due next year may yet produce positive news. Astra has also had other notable successes in the field.
But whatever lies in store for the UK pharma group, biotech companies a fraction of its size are poised to reap significant rewards from cancer treatments, not least in the field of immunotherapy drugs. MarketsandMarkets, a research provider, estimates this part of the market will be worth $201bn by 2021, up from $108bn in 2016.
West Yorkshire-based Avacta has developed a technology called Affimer, an engineered alternative to antibodies that is simpler, smaller, more robust, but equally effective, according to Alastair Smith, chief executive.
In contrast to the complexity of antibodies, Affimers were easy to manufacture [and] easy to tailor to suit the application, a particular advantage in immuno-oncology.
The company, which in 2016 had revenues of £2.17m, up from £1.81m the year before, plans to build a pipeline of drugs that it will ultimately license to large pharma and biotech companies.
FinnCap, a broker to Aim-listed companies, this year described the value of the Affimer platform as substantial, relative to Avactas companys market capitalisation.
This should engender additional external interest in the platform, increasing the probability of generating a licensing/partnership with big pharma/biotech, it said.
Shares in the company, which has a market capitalisation of £47m, stood at 73p on Thursday, up about 10 per cent from six months ago but lower than this time last year.
but here is full public abstract available without selective editing on another bb
"In early May the pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca completed a deal with Boston-based Pieris Pharmaceuticals worth up to $2.1 billion to bring Pieris anticalin asthma drug PRS-060, an engineered protein that mimics antibodies, to the clinic. And on June 1, Bicycle Therapeutics in Cambridge, UK, pulled in $52 million in a series B funding round with several high-profile investors to continue developing its bicycle peptides for a variety of cancer types.
Those are just two of the wide variety of protein scaffold drugs currently in development
(Tabl e 1 ). Theres a whole zoo of non-anti-body scaffolds out there, says Daniel Christ,
an immunologist at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Sydney, Australia.
These tiny protein scaffolds take advantage of the high binding specificity of monoclonal
antibodiesa key therapeutic modality for a range of diseaseswhile overcoming some
of their drawbacks. In principle, the scaffolds should have considerable advantages over anti-
bodies, says Christ, adding that there are three major features driving the field.
The first is size. Protein scaffolds are much smaller than antibodieswith a molecular
weight of anywhere from 2 to 20 kDa, compared with 150 kDa on average for antibodies. That allows them to penetrate into tissues much more easily and seek out binding sites that antibodies cant reach. This provides advantages when dealing with solid tumors or creating inhaled drugs.
Second, they tend to be more stable at high temperatures, and are easy to produce in bacteria, yeast or even by chemical synthesis, rather than in eukaryotic cells. This makes the scaffolds much cheaper to produce.
Third, scaffolds are sufficiently different from antibodies that they can be patented. In the
mid-1990s when research into scaffolds began in earnest most antibody drugs were still patent-
protected. An alternative drug candidate could claim novelty and be considered a patentable
invention for the same therapeutic action.These intellectual property and cost advantages are beginning to erode, however. The antibody field is not standing still, it has been improving over the years, says Christ. Patents, including for those protecting antibody block-busters Herceptin (trastuzumab), Humira (adalimumab) and Avastin (bevacizumab), are beginning to expire before the alternative scaffolds make it to market, and new manufacturing techniques are driving down the cost of biologics drug production anyway. Even scaffolds small size is not always desirable. Small size is a double-edged sword, says Christ. It means they also have a short half-life.
Tiny protein scaffolds are quickly filtered out of the body by the kidneys, so the companies
developing them as drugs need to either find ways to make them stick around longerby
adding extensions to them to make them more antibody-like, engineering them to cling on to
proteins in the blood or focusing on applications for which a short half-life is desirable.
So far, only one antibody-like scaffold drug has made it to market. In 2009 the US Food
and Drug Administration approved Kalbitor (ecallantide), made by Dyax, a Burlington,
Massachusettsbased company that was acquired by Dublin-based Shire in 2016 (Nat.
Biotechnol. 34, 7, 2016). Kalbitor is a long-acting, 60-amino-acid, 6-kDa peptide based on
the first Kunitz domain of human lipoprotein-associated coagulation inhibitor D1, which
inactivates the protein kallikrein in blood to prevent attacks of hereditary angioedema.
The rest of the pipeline is moving more slowly. Zurich-based Molecular Partners has
one drug in phase 3 clinical trials to treat macular degeneration. The company works with
designed ankyrin repeat proteins (DARPins), small 1218 kDa molecules with highly specific
binding domains. We wanted to look for something very different
as noted previously, and whilst i note AS comment - Partnership with Moderna expanded to include more drug targets , i/we await news of further substantial payments coming our way
I also note AAH noticeably absent from recent update whilst at moment providing the majority of turnover and though slightly loss making (year end 310716) may be break even this year - just disappointed for those employed within this segment of our business - though i still expect to be sold off in the coming year or so
Avacta is the proprietary owner of Affimer technology for the development of bio-therapeutics, diagnostic tests and research reagents. Affimers represent a radical alternative to established antibody technology which dominates the drug industry, despite its limitations. Avacta has made considerable progress towards its strategic goal to have a first-in-man Affimer therapeutic by the end of 2019. Meanwhile, in the news, a deal - that does not involve Avacta but has great relevance - is the collaboration between Ablynx and Sanofi that could be worth up to
2.4bn to access the Nanobody technology for immune-mediated inflammatory diseases.
To commercialise its Affimer technology through a combination of bespoke research tools, collaborative deals and by identifying and developing its own proprietary therapeutic Affimer leads. Avacta has sufficient cash resources to identify an Affimer lead through to IND submission (end-FY 2018).
During Q3 17, details on the feasibility of developing Affimer Drug Conjugates (AffimerDC) following work with its partner, Glythera, will be reported. Although antibody drug conjugates (ADC) are more advanced, it is believed that Affimer DC will overcome some of the issues encountered with ADC.
Important news relevant to AVCT is the strategic collaboration between Sanofi and Ablynx to develop competing Nanobody drug candidates. The up-front payment was not insignificant at 23m, plus 8m of research funding, plus development milestones of up to 2.4bn and tiered royalties.
Ablynx technology is similar to that of Avacta but is based on a llama single-domain antibody as scaffold, whereas Affimers are derived from a human protein called Stefin A. It demonstrates clearly the increased interest and value that big Pharma is willing to pay to access alternative technologies to the established antibody technology, which dominates the life sciences industry.
Avacta has made considerable progress towards its goal of having its own proprietary Affimer
-based drugs and growing a profitable reagents business. In just 18 months, it has identified potential leads and completed in vitro and in vivo pharmacokinetic pre-clinical tests. The next step will be to select its immuno-oncology lead candidate for filing as an Investigational New
Drug (IND) in 2018, a prelude to beginning clinical testing in 2019.
There was a positive trading statement issued last year on 1st August.
Positive results RNS 22nd September 16
First Affimer pre-clinical 1st November 16
CAR-T collaboration 2nd November 16
Affinity separation 23rd November 16
Immunogenicity Results 3rd April 17
Diagnostic firm deal 24th April 17
Two leading US Biotech's RNS 22nd May 17
Together with the ongoing collaborations (Moderna et al) the cash position will make for interesting reading, as will any deals that might be signed where we qualify for royalties.... our own cancer therapuetic remains the singlemost transformational item in the pipeline, so let us all hope that one or more of these is coming close to fruition, and the market starts liking AVCT. For me, we are in the best position we ever have been as a business, but are unappreciated by the market based on past failings. Here's to a step change in appreciation soon.
Next up was the final presentation of the evening and it was delivered by Dr. Alastair Smith, CEO of Avacta Life Sciences. Avacta operate in the BioTech space and are known by their investors as spearheading their patented Affimer alternative to current antibody technology. Now Im not going to try and pretend I can explain everything there is to know about Affimers but in essence, they are an alternative to antibodies, take far less time to develop than antibodies, and dont require testing on animals. Win win right?
So what did I find out that I didnt know before the presentation? Well the company has a number of trials ongoing with the NHS and are aiming for licencing deals with Big-Pharma and have something in place with one of the big 3 already although are sworn to secrecy. I think Ill let Avacta themselves tell you about Affimers in this video below
(on our website)
I think one of the things that can be frustrating for investors of listed companies is the amount of non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) that float around with particular contracts and licencing deals, especially with the majors where competition and protection of IP is everything. From my viewpoint it just makes life harder for the company to give investors a real idea of potential value/return. This isnt a criticism of Avacta, its just a simple fact of how this (and other types of) business works.
Dr. Smith took us through the potential of Affimers and why they are a robust alternative to traditional antibodies but the main thing I was left wanting from this particular presentation was more information on potential revenues. Yes, we got the standard look at these other companies in our space and their respective Mcaps and look where we could be but how do investors know how realistic this is? Weve all seen it companies with low to medium values floating the idea of what the potential size of the company might be in the future. I think what is more important is how do they show a route to market, and are they fully funded in order to do that with a management team that has skin in the game.
One of the things that particularly impressed me with Avacta was the quality of the board without it being too top heavy. My one criticism of CMCL if I had to pick one was probably the fact I picked up that their board is 12 strong with many of these being non execs. Now there might be completely bona fida reasons for that, but as an investor, I want to know that companies have (for the most part) full time senior management fully focused on returning value for shareholders. I look at a lot of companies and know instantly with certain management teams that there is no way that all that team are giving the company their full attention which, in my opinon, increases the risk in investment for that particular company. With Avacta, I dont get that negative feeling. I see a highly qualified, highly commercially-focused team that have a unique technology which could change the game.
Income targets for 2017 are on target but I didnt feel we got a true reflection in the presentation of 2018 expectations which I felt was possibly the only omission for me. I didnt get chance to speak with Alistair afterwards but from the questions he did answer in the Q&A he is obviously a man who knows his subject and has an extensive pipeline of opportunities that investors expect will see significant returns as backed up by various research and broker institutions who have this as a strong buy. DYOR as always Ill leave you with another video but if you go on Avactas YouTube channel you will find a few more so I recommend taking a peek if this sparks your interest.
Paul's linkedin profile updated re metalinear ltd but not code therapeutics ltd as yet
After leaving Avacta Life Sciences in March 2017 I have started metaLinear Ltd in order to focus on identifying new diagnostic and therapeutic targets in certain disease areas using Affimer® technology. metaLinear has agreed with Avacta a limited R&D licence for the use of Avactas proprietary Affimer® technology to identify targets in this field.
People beginning to grasp the significance of the China IP, the Moderna deal, or the two new US Bio deals ... there are significant (potential) positives, even if the terms of the commercials are tied up in confidentiality handcuffs.
StockMarketWire.com - Avacta Group has announced that the principal patent protecting the Affimer technology had been accepted for grant in China.
Avacta said that on issuance, this patent would extend coverage of Avacta's intellectual property into another potentially large market for the company.
It said that considering the therapeutic applications of Affimers alone, China now accounted for more than one fifth of the global therapeutic antibody market. It said counterparts to this patent had already been granted in the US, Europe and Japan.
Group chief executive Dr Alastair Smith said:"The grant of a robust patent to cover the core Affimer intellectual property in China adds further strength to our global intellectual property position.
"We continue to develop the core technology and I look forward to updating the market regarding further expansion of our Affimer intellectual property estate in due course."
At 9:53am: [LON:AVCT] Avacta Group PLC share price was +4.5p at 90p
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