Diagnostics specialist Avacta has signed an agreement with US biotech companny Moderna Therapeutics which could be worth tens of millions of dollars.
Under the terms of the collaboration, licensing and option agreement, Moderna will make an upfront payment of $500,000 to provide it with exclusive access to Affimers, Avacta’s product.
Affimers are engineered proteins that mimic the specificity and binding affinities of antibodies, but are much smaller, more robust and simpler to produce.
Moderna will also make certain payments to Avacta for research services to deliver pre-clinical development milestones.
Moderna has the option to enter into exclusive license agreements for selected therapeutic Affimer candidates for clinical development and in each case Avacta will be entitled to milestone payments.
The total value of these payments could reach several tens of millions of dollars.
Wetherby-based Avacta is also entitled to royalties in connection with future product sales.
Alastair Smith, Avacta Group CEO, said: “This agreement represents a significant opportunity for Avacta with tangible, near term revenues from upfront payments and research services, with additional milestone payments and royalties on future sales of therapeutics.
“It is a transformational deal for Avacta and Affimers and I am absolutely delighted to be working with Moderna, a leader in this exciting new field of mRNA therapeutics.
“The collaboration with Moderna is an important validation of the Affimer technology, highlighting the potential for Affimers to become a real alternative to antibodies.
“I have no doubt that this early adoption of Affimers in the therapeutic field will act as a catalyst for others and it represents a step change in the valuation of the Affimer technology.”