LONDON: Avacta Group plc (AIM: AVCT), a clinical stage oncology drug company and developer of powerful diagnostics based on its innovative Affimer and pre|CISION platforms, announces that Vimian Group AB (Vimian.ST) has acquired the veterinary division of Avacta Group, Avacta Animal Health.
Avacta Animal Health provides veterinary allergy diagnostic solutions through its laboratory in Wetherby, UK and re-sells immunotherapy products from Nextmune, a Vimian Group company, to veterinary clinics across the UK. The business also provides testing kits to veterinary laboratories across Europe.
Avacta Animal Health Limited will be acquired by Nextmune Holdings BV and will be consolidated into Vimian’s Specialty Pharma segment on 15 March, 2022.
Avacta has received an upfront payment of £0.9 million and will receive additional deferred consideration of up to £1.4 million dependent on the combined performance of the consolidated business. The Animal Health Division had made an operating loss (prior to an impairment of historic goodwill) of £0.3 million during the year ended 31 December 2020. The carrying value of the Division as at 31 December 2020 was £1.0 million. The sale proceeds will provide further funds for the development of the Group’s Diagnostics and Therapeutics Divisions.
Dr Alastair Smith, Chief Executive Officer of Avacta Group, commented: “The sale of the Avacta Animal Health business allows the Group to focus entirely on growing its core businesses; diagnostics and therapeutics. Having had our Animal Health division since 2009, we are delighted that Vimian will be retaining the entire Avacta Animal Health team and are well placed to grow the business.”
Magnus Kjellberg, CEO of Vimian’s Specialty Pharma segment Nextmune, commented: “This acquisition significantly strengthens Nextmune’s competitive position in the UK. With our own laboratory for veterinary allergy diagnostics in the country and a full-service offering covering all veterinary dermatology needs, we see significant opportunities to accelerate sales and improve customer experience in the UK. The cross-selling opportunities via this business existing customer base as well as the increased laboratory capacity for Nextmune are also key components in driving incremental growth.”
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 London and 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 is developing an in-house pipeline of Affimer-based diagnostic assays, including the AffiDX® SARS-CoV-2 Lateral Flow Rapid Antigen Test, and works with partners world-wide to develop bespoke Affimer® reagents for third party products.
Avacta’s Therapeutics Division is working to deliver a more tolerable and durable treatment response for oncology patients who do not respond to existing immunotherapies. By combining its two proprietary platforms the Group is building a wholly owned pipeline of clinically differentiated cancer therapies, aiming to extend the therapeutic benefits to all cancer patients. In 2021 Avacta transitioned to become a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company, commencing a phase I first-in-human, open label, dose-escalation and expansion study of AVA6000, a pro-doxorubicin, the Group’s lead pre|CISION™ 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 ModernaTX, Inc. (formerly 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 and a collaboration with Point Biopharma to develop radiopharmaceuticals based on the pre|CISION™ platform. Avacta continues to actively seek to license its proprietary platforms in a range of therapeutic areas.