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, announced that AffyXell Therapeutics (“AffyXell”), a joint venture between Avacta and Daewoong Pharmaceutical (“Daewoong”), has entered into a collaboration agreement with Biocytogen, a Chinese company specializing in developing new biological drugs, and the Korea Non-Clinical Technology Solution Center (“KNTSC”).
The collaboration is aimed at developing new immune disease in vivo models and carrying out proof-of-concept and toxicity testing of AffyXell’s drug candidates using the developed disease models.
These new models will benefit from Biocytogen’s platform for gene editing, which creates mouse models capable of producing human antibodies.
The collaboration is designed to improve the translation of AffyXell’s programmes into human trials and accelerate drug development. The KNTSC’s role in the collaboration is to provide the infrastructure and overall management for pre-clinical trials.
AffyXell was established in January 2020 by Avacta and Daewoong as a joint venture to develop novel mesenchymal stem cell (“MSC”) therapies. AffyXell is combining Avacta’s Affimer® platform with Daewoong’s MSC platform such that the stem cells are genetically modified to produce and secrete therapeutic Affimer® proteins in situ in the patient. The Affimer® proteins are designed to enhance the therapeutic effects of the MSC creating a novel, next generation cell therapy platform.
Dr Alastair Smith, CEO of Avacta, commented: “The quality of pre-clinical disease models and their ability to translate into humans is critical for reducing risk and timelines associated with drug development. This collaboration has the potential to significantly accelerate AffyXell’s programmes.”
Sengho Jeon, Chief Executive Officer of Daewoong Pharmaceutical and AffyXell Therapeutics, said: “Through this contract, the capabilities of the three companies can exert a synergistic effect, providing a foundation for speeding up the development of new drugs. In the future, we will further accelerate the development of cell gene therapy to overcome immune diseases and contribute to improving the quality of life of patients with incurable diseases.”
Biocytogen CEO, Yuelei Shen, commented: “We expect this contract to allow Affyxell to exert a synergistic effect on developing next-generation cell gene therapy for overcoming immune diseases based on our non-clinical animal model development and non-clinical experimental know-how related to immune diseases.”