Avacta shares up 12% on China, Korea collaboration

Shares of Wetherby-based diagnostics company Avacta Group plc rose 12% on Friday after it announced that AffyXell Therapeutic, a joint venture between Avacta and Daewoong Pharmaceutical, 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,” said Avacta.

“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.”