FIT Biotech Oy: Positive results from gene therapy collaboration with Avacta

FIT Biotech Oy 

Company release 22.5.2018 at 9.30 EET

Positive results from gene therapy collaboration with Avacta

FIT Biotech Oy (“FIT Biotech”, FITBIO:FN Finland) today announced that the results from a preclinical pilot study with Avacta Group Plc (“Avacta”, AIM:AVCT) were positive and completed ahead of schedule. The results demonstrate that FIT Biotech’s gene delivery platform potentially offers great opportunities for developing safer, better and more cost-effective drugs for the growing biopharmaceutical market. Encouraged by these positive results, FIT Biotech and Avacta now plan to expand their collaboration.

Biological drugs are a growing class of drugs to treat a wide range of diseases. Biological drugs such as therapeutic antibodies are usually complex, expensive to manufacture and require patients to be treated at regular intervals. The aim of the pilot that was first published in October 2017, was to establish whether the FIT Biotech’s gtGTU® technology can be used to produce Avacta’s Affimers from muscle tissue. The amount of active Affimer drug was then measured from the blood stream. Results show that a single administration of Affimer gene with the help of gtGTU® is sufficient to produce therapeutically relevant levels of Affimer from the muscle, and that the levels remained high in the blood for over a month.

Erkki Pekkarinen, CEO of FIT Biotech comments: “We are very excited to work with Avacta in developing safer and better biological drugs. Combination of our respective platforms shows great potential, and It further demonstrates that FIT Biotech’s gtGTU platform shows promise in developing a wide range of next-generation biological drugs that bring added value to suppliers, healthcare professionals, and most importantly, to the patients. Our technology has significant potential in the market for biological drugs that is expected to grow to $480 billion by 2024.”

Alastair Smith, CEO of Avacta commented: “The potential benefits of achieving a sustained production of Affimer drugs by the body through delivery of just the Affimer DNA are huge and it is very exciting to see such encouraging results of this exploratory study. The combination of the two companies’ technologies appears from this initial data to be very effective and we will now explore the different opportunities to take this forward collaboratively and with larger partners.”

Further information:
CEO Erkki Pekkarinen
Tel: +358 44 027 0080

Certified Advisor: Aalto Capital Partners Oy, tel. +358 40 587 7000

About FIT Biotech
FIT Biotech Oy is a biotechnology company established in 1995. The company develops and licenses its patented GTU® (Gene Transport Unit) vector technology for next-generation medical treatments. GTU® is a gene transport technology that meets an important medical challenge in the usability of gene therapy and DNA vaccines.

FIT Biotech applies GTU® technology in its drug development programmes. Application areas include cancer (gene therapy) and infectious diseases such as HIV and tuberculosis, as well as animal vaccines.

FIT Biotech shares are listed on the First North Finland marketplace maintained by Nasdaq Helsinki Oy.

About Avacta Group plc
Avacta’s principal focus is on its proprietary Affimer® technology which is a novel engineered alternative to antibodies that has wide application in Life Sciences for diagnostics, therapeutics and general research and development.

Antibodies dominate markets worth in excess of $50bn despite their shortcomings. Affimer technology has been designed to address many of these negative performance issues, principally; the time taken to generate new antibodies, the reliance on an animal’s immune response, poor specificity in many cases, and batch to batch variability. Affimer technology is based on a small protein that can be quickly generated to bind with high specificity and affinity to a wide range of protein targets.

Avacta has a pre-clinical biotech development programme with an in-house focus on immuno-oncology and bleeding disorders as well as partnered development programmes. Avacta is commercialising non-therapeutic Affimer reagents through licensing to developers of life sciences research tools and diagnostics.

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