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Avacta Group selects second pro-drug candidate

By Josh White

Date: Tuesday 18 Jan 2022

Avacta Group selects second pro-drug candidate

(Sharecast News) - Clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company Avacta Group announced on Tuesday that the next 'preCISION' drug candidate, 'AVA3996', had been selected for preclinical development, with a view to a first-in-human phase one clinical trial from the second half of 2023.
The AIM-traded firm said its 'preCISION' chemistry was used to modify chemotherapy drugs to render them inactive in the circulation until they enter the tumour microenvironment, where they are activated by the fibroblast activation protein α (FAP) protein.

It said that enzyme was in high abundance in most solid tumours but, crucially, not in healthy tissues.

The preCISION platform thus offered a way to reduce systemic exposure to, and improve the safety of, existing effective and affordable cancer drugs.

In that way, the company said the platform was intended to increase the tolerability of chemotherapies, and achieve better clinical outcomes for patients.

AVA3996 is a FAP-targeted preCISION proteasome inhibitor.

Avacta explained that proteasome inhibitors have a market that is expected to grow to $2.3bn by 2026, despite limited regulatory approvals of other molecules in the class due to serious toxicities.

AVA3996 was designed to reduce those systemic toxicities by targeting the release of the proteasome inhibitor to FAP-rich tumour tissues.

Following a review of efficacy studies in several liquid and solid tumour models, safety studies and a review of manufacturability, AVA3996 was selected as a candidate for preclinical development, with the aim of a clinical trial authorisation or investigational new drug filing in the first half of 2023, and dosing of the first patient later that year.

"We are excited by the early preclinical data for AVA3996, the second of Avacta's preCISION pro-drugs following on from AVA6000," said chief executive officer Alastair Smith.

"The preCISION platform has the potential to generate a significant pipeline of safer, better tolerated chemotherapies to treat a wide range of cancers. It represents a major commercial opportunity and the principal value driver for the group.

"If AVA3996 is shown to have a significantly improved safety profile in the clinic, then not only could it provide a better tolerated treatment for multiple myeloma, but it has the potential to be the first proteasome inhibitor to be suitable for treating solid tumours, thereby significantly increasing the market opportunity."

At 1416 GMT, shares in Avacta Group were up 9.59% at 80p.

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