Adds extensive biopharmaceutical development and commercialisation expertise to Board and will establish and chair the Company's clinical advisory board
Avacta Group plc (AIM: AVCT), the global provider of proprietary diagnostic tools, consumables and reagents for life sciences, is pleased to announce that it has appointed Dr Mike Owen to the Board as a non-executive director with immediate effect.
Dr Owen was Senior Vice President and global Head of Research of the Biopharmaceuticals R&D Unit at GlaxoSmithKline and was responsible for initiating and rapidly growing GSK's robust pre-clinical and clinical therapeutic antibody pipeline during the last decade through in-house development as well as through acquisitions such as Domantis. He left GSK in 2010 to establish Kymab which is developing biotherapeutics using its novel transgenic mouse platform. Dr Owen is an immunologist by training who had a highly successful scientific career at Imperial Cancer Research during which he was elected a member of the European Molecular Biology Organisation and a fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences.
The appointment of Dr Owen to Avacta's Board follows the recent successful raising of £22m by the Company to support the development of Affimers as biotherapeutics. Affimers are Avacta's engineered alternative to antibodies that have been developed to address many of the limitations of antibodies. Avacta is commercialising Affimers as research tools and is now investing additionally in their development as the next generation of biotherapeutic. Dr Owen brings extensive clinical trial, scientific and commercial experience to the Company in support of this strategy. He will establish and chair a Clinical Advisory Board which will provide guidance to the Affimer therapeutic development programmes.
Dr Owen is also an independent board member at Zealand Pharma and non-executive director of Ossianix Inc. and Blink Therapeutics. He sits on the scientific advisory board of Kymab and also advises the private equity CRT Pioneer Fund and HS Life Sciences.
Dr Trevor Nicholls, Chairman, commented:
"I am absolutely delighted that we have been able to attract someone with Mike's credentials to our Board. His extensive experience in the field of novel biotherapeutic platforms will be invaluable as we progress development and commercialisation of Affimers as therapeutics. Additionally he brings with him considerable clinical and market knowledge as well as a broad network throughout the biopharmaceutical sector.
"We have shown that Affimers have very promising attributes as a therapeutic platform and recently signed our first significant licensing partnership with Moderna Therapeutics. It is a tremendously exciting point in the company's development of Affimers and we look forward to updating the market on the rapid progress that is being made."
Dr Mike Owen commented:
"I am delighted to be joining the Board of Avacta. Affimers are a tremendously exciting prospect and I look forward to providing strategic input towards the Company's goal of generating a strong proprietary therapeutic Affimer pipeline and establishing value creating external alliances with biotech and pharma."
The following information is disclosed pursuant to Schedule Two paragraph (g) of the AIM Rules for Companies. Michael John Owen, aged 64 years, has been a director of the following companies during the five years preceding the date of this announcement:
Current directorships Blink Therapeutics SAS Zealand Pharma Ossianix, Inc The Club Cricket Organisation Limited Past directorships Blink Therapeutics Limited
There is no further information to be disclosed pursuant to Rule 17 or Schedule Two paragraph (g) of the AIM Rules for Companies.
Avacta Group plc
Alastair Smith, Chief Executive Officer
Tim Sykes, Chief Financial Officer
Tel: +44 (0) 844 414 0452
Numis Securities Limited
Tel: +44 (0) 207 260 1000
Michael Meade / Freddie Barnfield – Nominated Adviser
James Black – Corporate Broking
Tel: +44 (0) 203 705 9318
Tel: +44 (0) 203 705 9217
Simon Conway/Natalie Garland-Collins
Tel: +44 (0) 20 3727 1000
Notes to Editors
Avacta Group plc (www.avacta.com)
Avacta Group plc is a global provider of innovative technologies, consumables and reagents for the life science markets, from drug discovery to diagnostics. 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. Affimers have 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. Affimers are 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 is commercialising Affimer reagents through custom Affimer services to provide bespoke solutions to customers, via a growing on-line catalogue of Affimer reagents and, in the longer term, by developing Affimers with therapeutic properties for out-licensing.