Affimer biotherapeutics and research reagent developer Avacta Group announced that two unnamed leading US biotech companies had separately taken exclusive rights to Affimer reagents for research and development use, to support their respective drug development programmes.
The AIM-traded firm said it developed the Affimer technology platform to provide proprietary, "high quality" reagents to life sciences companies for therapeutic, diagnostic and research use.
It said it continued to deliver on its licensing model under which it provided bespoke Affimer reagents, via fully funded development projects, for third party research use, incorporation into both diagnostic and other products, and for therapeutic development.
"Following technical evaluations, Avacta has agreed exclusive licensing arrangements for bespoke Affimer reagents with two US based biotech companies," the board confirmed in its statement.
"In line with deals of this nature and sensitivity commercial terms cannot be disclosed."
It said the first, a "global top 15 biotech company", needed an Affimer reagent to capture a human protein with no cross-reactivity against the same protein from other species commonly used in drug development, such as rodents.
No antibodies exist that are capable of providing this "species specificity", the board claimed, and the new Affimer reagent would allow the biotech partner to develop previously unavailable assays to support its drug development activities.
A number of Affimer reagents which met the demanding criteria were generated by Avacta and, under the terms of the agreement, the biotech partner had been allowed to take exclusive rights to one of those Affimer molecules for research use.
The second, a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company, wished to detect a certain human protein, mutations of which are known to lead to worse overall survival rates in some cancers.
Avacta said the protein was one of a group of very similar proteins, and no antibodies were available that could differentiate reliably between the different members of the protein family.
The company said it was able to generate several Affimer reagents that met the requirements and the US biopharmaceutical company had taken exclusive rights to one of those Affimer reagents to support its in-house drug discovery programmes in oncology.
"These two custom Affimer reagent licensing deals are further evidence of the ability of Affimer technology to meet challenging requirements for use in real world applications when, to date, antibodies have been unable to provide a satisfactory solution," said group CEO Alastair Smith.
"At this early stage of commercialisation such successes are important factors in building awareness and adoption of the Affimer technology, which is key to allowing us to deliver on our strategy of executing therapeutic and diagnostic licensing deals.
"This excellent progress follows the recent exclusive licensing deal with a top three global diagnostics company and I look forward to being able to update the market again in the near future," Dr Smith added.