Wetherby drug firm in Korean tie-up

Wetherby-based drug developer Avacta has formed a new joint venture with a leading South Korean pharma company to develop the next generation of cell and gene therapies.

Tuesday, 14th January 2020, 5:07 pm
Dr Alastair Smith, chief executive of Thorp Arch-based Avacta. PHOTO: Simon Hulme.

Avacta, which is working on cures for lung, breast, gastric and bowel cancer, will enter into a collaboration and licence agreement with Daewoong Pharmaceutical to develop the next generation of cell and gene therapies, incorporating its proprietary Affimer proteins to enhance the immune-modulatory effects. Affimers are Avacta’s high-tech alternative to antibodies.

Avacta’s chief executive Dr Alastair Smith said: “Cell and gene therapies are attracting intense clinical and commercial interest. We are very excited to establish this joint venture with Daewoong, one of the top pharmaceutical companies in Korea, to develop the Affimer platform in this important therapeutic area.”

He said Avacta’s vision is to combine the two platforms to create the next generation of cell therapies, for which the potential is “huge”.

Dr Seng-ho Jeon, CEO of Dae-
woong Pharmaceutical, said: “This innovative collaboration will deliver invaluable synergy and lead to new solutions to transform patients’ lives.”