Avacta Group relocates Therapeutics division to Imperial College in London
The clinical stage oncology drug firm(AVCT ) has relocated its Therapeutics division to a new headquarters at Scale Space, in Imperial College’s White City Campus.
The new London-based headquarters, which will see Avacta be part of a life science cluster, brings together its research and development teams to support the continued growth of its pre-clinical and clinical development pipelines of innovative cancer therapies, it explained.
The move follows the transition of AVA6000, its lead pre|CISIONTM targeted chemotherapy programme and a tumour activated form of doxorubicin, into the clinic in August 2021.
Scale Space opened in July 2020 as a joint venture between Blenheim Chalcot, the UK’s leading digital venture builder, and Imperial College London. White City is currently home to over 140 companies across a broad range of industries including pharmaceutical and biotech.
Dr Fiona McLaughlin, Chief Scientific Officer of Avacta Group, said the move is the result of “a clear vision” of the Board to bring together the research and development teams into one hub to facilitate the translation of the company’s in-house research “from bench to bedside.”
She further explained the incentive: “We are now at the heart of the innovative White City community in London, readily accessible to our collaborators around the world and poised to take Avacta to the next level in its evolution as a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company.”
Neil Bell, Chief Development Officer of Avacta Group, said the relocation is “a transformative milestone” as the company takes the next steps towards developing its innovative oncology pipeline and improving our ability to bring these innovative therapies through to patients.
He said the new location will provide “access to world class facilities, increased opportunities for collaboration and access to a significant talent pool to take the business forward.”
Michael Holmes, Scale Space’ CEO said: “We are delighted to partner with Avacta in the next phase of their growth - the fact that such an innovative organisation has chosen Scale Space, White City, ahead of any other location they could have picked, is another clear indicator that the White City Innovation District is one of the best locations for businesses looking to immerse themselves in a thriving ecosystem and attract top tier talent to innovate and scale.”
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Today’s move follows the transition of AVA6000 - Avacta’s lead pre|CISION targeted chemotherapy programme and a tumour activated form of doxorubicin, into the clinic.
Not only will the new headquarters see Avacta be part of a life science cluster at the West London site, but the move is expected to integrate the company’s research and development teams in an effective manner to support the continued growth of the Wetherby-based company’s pre-clinical and clinical development pipelines of innovative cancer therapies.
Avacta recently described FY21 as “a period of transformation” for the business, highlighting to investors that it remains very confident about its immediate and long-term opportunities.
The successful submission of a CTA to the UK MHRA allowed it to initiate the ALS-6000-101 Phase I dose escalation and expansion trials in the UK while gaining approval from the US FDA for an IND meant patients could be dosed in the US as part of this ongoing clinical trial.
As a result, the first patient ever was dosed with a pre|CISIONTM FAPα-activated drug, AVA6000, in August 2021 and the dose has now been increased in the Phase Ia dose escalation part of the study following positive safety data from the first cohort of patients.
Avacta expects full read-out of the trial - a potentially pivotal moment - to occur this summer.
The Board believes that the most significant near-term value driver for the Company is the clinical data from this Phase I study of AVA6000 which is expected in the middle of 2022.
It said a positive readout would create a significant commercial opportunity with a potentially safer form of Doxorubicin, while immediately opening up a large and very valuable pipeline of pre|CISIONTM chemotherapy FAPα-activated drugs for development and licensing.
Looking ahead, the Company maintains a confident outlook “with both potential near-term value drivers relating to AVA6000's clinical trial progress, a pipeline of IVD products and a redeveloped SARS-CoV-2 antigen test offering immediate and long-term opportunities.”
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