CAMBRIDGE & WETHERBY, U.K.—Avacta Group plc announced today that the company has entered into a license agreement with POINT Biopharma Inc., under which Avacta will provide access to the company’s proprietary pre|CISION platform for the development of tumor-activated radiopharmaceuticals.
The pre|CISION technology will be used to modify a radioligand drug into a tumor-activated prodrug. The prodrug form is inactive until it enters the tumor micro-environment, where it’s activated by an enzyme called fibroblast activation protein (FAP). FAP is present in high abundance in most solid tumors, but not in healthy tissue. Thus, the pre|CISION technology could potentially improve tolerability, and achieve better outcomes for patients by targeting the radioligand treatment more specifically to cancer cells
“I am very pleased to have established this partnership with POINT that allows Avacta to exploit its pre|CISION platform in a therapeutic area outside of our in-house focus on chemotherapy prodrugs. The clinical and commercial rationale for our pre|CISION prodrug platform is to improve the safety and efficacy of many existing drugs, as well as generating a pipeline of new and novel cancer therapies,” said Alastair Smith, CEO of Avacta. “In oncology, we believe that this approach will result in better response rates for monotherapies, and a greater safety margin, to enable their use with a larger patient population and as part of combination therapies.”
The agreement provides POINT with an exclusive license to Avacta’s pre|CISION technology for use in a radiopharmaceutical prodrug the company intends to develop. It also includes a non-exclusive license to the pre|CISION platform for the development of a broader pipeline of FAP-activated radiopharmaceuticals.
Avacta will receive an upfront fee and development milestones for the first radiopharmaceutical prodrug, totaling $9.5 million. Avacta will also receive milestone payments for subsequent radiopharmaceutical prodrugs of up to $8 million each, a royalty on sales of FAP-activated radiopharmaceuticals by POINT, and a percentage of any sublicensing income.
“The in-house development of AVA6000 Pro-doxorubicin, the first of our pre|CISION chemotherapy prodrugs for which we have recently submitted a CTA filing in the UK to begin clinical trials in 2021, has already generated significant interest and this is highlighted by the agreement with POINT announced today. The potential of the pre|CISION platform to significantly improve outcomes for patients treated with existing cancer therapies through improved safety, tolerability and dosing regimens is enormous,” Smith added. “In addition, Avacta is combining the pre|CISION technology with the Affimer platform to create an entirely new class of proprietary TMAC drug conjugates. I look forward to updating the market on further progress on these and the diagnostic programs across the Group in the near term."