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‘Transformational’ year ahead for Avacta Group as it prepares its Covid-19 test for mass population screening

Avacta Group’s CEO predicts a “transformational year” ahead with “momentous milestones” for the company as it progresses its Covid-19 test and other products.

The Whittlesford-based drug development company unveiled interim results for the six months to the end of June, which showed revenues growing to £1.8million, compared to £1.1m in the same period the previous year.

CEO Alastair Smith
CEO Alastair Smith

It posted an operating loss of £8.1m, with increased R&D investment leading to a reported loss of £7m, but a healthy cash balance of £54.5m - compared to £8.8m at the end of 2019. This followed a £53.8m fundraising that is allowing it to expand its diagnostics and therapeutics programmes.

There are hopes that Avacta’s rapid Covid-19 antigen test for mass population screening, which it is developing with Cytiva , could be validated in the fourth quarter of 2020.

A pilot batch of the product - which utilises a test strip like a pregnancy test, but works on saliva - is being worked on by its partner, BBI Solutions.

The test uses Avacta’s Affimer technology , which provides an alternative to antibodies.

Avacta Group CEO Alastair Smith said: “It has been a period of significant advancement despite the restrictions placed upon all of us by the coronavirus pandemic and I am immensely proud of the Avacta team for having delivered substantial progress under these difficult conditions.

“We have several momentous milestones ahead of us with the anticipated launch of a rapid, saliva based coronavirus antigen lateral flow test and the planned phase I study for AVA6000 pro-doxorubicin, the first pre|CISION pro-drug.

“There are multiple other opportunities in the pipeline that have been created by the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein binding Affimers, such as the BAMS assay with Adeptrix and several others that we will update the market on in due course. We are working tirelessly to bring all of these opportunities to the point of revenue generation as quickly as we possibly can.

“The recent placing has also allowed us to resource an expanded Affimer immunotherapy and pre|CISION chemotherapy pipeline and substantially increase the size of the research and clinical development teams at our Cambridge site to deliver on this. I am very pleased indeed that we now have the resources available to begin to unlock the potential of these two innovative and powerful therapeutic platforms.

“It will be a very exciting and genuinely transformational year ahead for Avacta, as we work with our partners to progress through each of the necessary stages to deliver on all of these opportunities and I look forward to keeping the market updated as we hit the major milestones."

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