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Avacta’s AffiDX SARS-CoV-2 lateral flow test detects both B117 ‘Kent’ and D614G variants of the virus
Avacta Group plc, the developer of innovative cancer therapies and diagnostics based on its proprietary Affimer® and pre|CISION™ platforms, announces that the AffiDX® SARS-CoV-2 rapid antigen lateral flow test detects the dominant new variants of the coronavirus, known as the B117, or ‘Kent’, variant, and the D614G variant, as well as the original strain.
The SARS-CoV-2 virus, like most viruses, mutates over time into slightly different variants. Some of these variants are more infectious, and therefore more rapidly transmissible, and have the potential to become dominant strains.
Early on in the pandemic a variant referred to as D614G appeared, which rapidly became the dominant strain globally. The B117 variant, which was first observed in Kent, is prevalent in the UK, has been found in more than 50 countries and, according to Professor Sharon Peacock (Professor of Public Health and Microbiology at Cambridge University) is likely to become the next dominant strain globally.
Avacta has carried out analytical tests with the spike proteins isolated from both the B117 and D614G variants, and has confirmed that its AffiDX® SARS-CoV-2 rapid antigen lateral flow test detects both of these variants as well as the original strain.
Dr Alastair Smith, Chief Executive of Avacta Group commented:
“We are pleased to confirm that Avacta’s rapid antigen test detects the B117 strain, an important variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and one which is especially prevalent in the UK. We have also shown that our test detects the D614G variant, the current dominant global strain.
We will continue to monitor the performance of the Affimer reagents with future dominant variants as they become available to us. Since the Affimer reagents we use in Avacta’s range of SARS-CoV-2 tests do not bind in the region of the spike protein where the dominant mutations appear, we do not anticipate that the performance of the tests will be affected.
Now that we have developed a robust lateral flow test architecture, we can easily insert Affimer reagents that that can be very rapidly developed for new variants if necessary, and indeed in response to any other future pandemic virus.
Our next key milestone is full clinical validation and CE marking of our lateral flow antigen test which we anticipate will be around the end of this quarter and I look forward to updating the market when that milestone is achieved.”
About Avacta Group plc
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 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 works with partners world-wide to develop bespoke Affimer reagents for third party products. The Group is also developing an in-house pipeline of Affimer-based diagnostic assays including the AffiDX® SARS-CoV-2 Lateral Flow Rapid Antigen Test and AffiDX® BAMS™ SARS-CoV-2 Assay in partnership with Adeptrix Inc.
Avacta’s Therapeutics Division is addressing a critical gap in current cancer treatment - the lack of a durable response to current immunotherapies experienced by most patients. By combining its two proprietary platforms the Group is building a wholly owned pipeline of novel cancer therapies deigned to be effective for all cancer patients. In 2021 Avacta will commence a phase 1 first-in-human, open label, dose-escalation and expansion study of AVA6000 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, a partnership with ADC Therapeutics to develop Affimer-drug conjugates 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.
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