Press Release January 13, 2020

Avacta and Daewoong Pharmaceutical Form Joint Venture Focused Immunotherapy

The European Life Sciences team advised Avacta Life Sciences Limited on the completion of its agreement with Daewoong Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. to establish a joint venture in South Korea, and on the collaboration and licensing agreement for the joint venture to develop the next generation of cell and gene therapies targeting immune-mediated diseases.

The joint venture will develop a new class of engineered mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) that are primed to produce Affimer proteins, which are designed to enhance the immune-modulatory effect when administered to patients by reducing inflammatory or autoimmune responses. Avacta will develop Affimer proteins against several targets which will be transferred to the joint venture to be incorporated into MSCs. Avacta’s research and development costs will be fully covered by the joint venture and Avacta retains the rights to commercialize the Affimer proteins outside of the field of cell therapies. Daewoong will provide the joint venture with access to its proprietary technology for generating allogeneic MSCs from a single donor to treat a large number of patients. The resulting engineered MSCs will have broad ranging therapeutic utility, depending on the Affimer proteins’ intended therapeutic purposes.

Based in Wetherby and Cambridge, UK, Avacta has developed a proprietary platform for the development of Affimer proteins, a class of non-antibody binding proteins that can be engineered for a wide range of applications, as well as a proprietary targeted chemotherapy platform.  By combining its two platforms, Avacta is building a pipeline of novel cancer therapies with the aim of creating effective treatments for all cancer patients including those who do not respond to existing immunotherapies. Avacta also works with partners world-wide to develop Affimer proteins for evaluation by those third parties with the objective of establishing royalty bearing license deals with a particular focus on the diagnostics sector.

The Goodwin team was led by London’s Malcolm Bates and Georgia Powell (Intellectual Property) and David Mardle (Life Sciences).

For additional details on the joint venture, please read the press release.