FIT Biotech Initiates Gene Therapy Research Collaboration With Avacta Group

Published: Oct 06, 2017

FIT Biotech Oy ("Company") today announced that it has initiated a research collaboration with Avacta Group Plc, Cambridge UK to assess the suitability of developing gene therapies combining the Company's gtGTU® platform and Avacta's Affimer® technology.

FIT Biotech's gtGTU® vector was developed for gene therapy applications to ensure stable and prolonged expression of DNA-based therapeutics in a safe manner. The vector thus removes the requirement for frequent administration of biological therapeutics, which have limited half-life in the body.

Antibodies have been the largest commercial success story of the past decade, generating multibillion dollar revenues for the biopharmaceutical sector. Affimer proteins are a class of non-antibody binding proteins that overcome many of the limitations of antibodies such as complexity and large size, which limits their use for many therapeutic targets in the body. The aim of this collaboration is to assess whether FIT Biotech's gtGTU® vector technology and Avacta's Affimer proteins can be utilized to produce a competitive alternative to antibodies in regard to superior biological function and therapeutic potential.

"I am delighted that we are starting this collaboration with FIT Biotech. The Affimer technology is potentially an ideal platform for gene delivery, and working with FIT Biotech's powerful gtGTU vector technology could lead to multiple therapeutic benefits and create a best-in-class gene therapy combination with significant potential. It is a very exciting prospect and the Group is keen to see the data from this pilot study which we anticipate will be in the first half of 2018.", commented Alastair Smith, CEO of Avacta.

"We very much look forward to working on this project together with Avacta. Affimer technology offers an exciting opportunity to take targeted therapies to a new level. The high target specificity and small size of Affimer molecules combined with gtGTU's ability to produce therapeutics at high level for a prolonged period of time makes this combination potentially very powerful. This collaboration follows our strategy of bringing gtGTU to the gene therapy market through strong partnerships", commented James Kuo, CEO of FIT Biotech.

FIT BIOTECH OY

Further information:
James Kuo, MD, MBA
CEO
FIT Biotech Oy
Tel: +358 44 0331307
E-mail: james.kuo@fitbiotech.com

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 (www.avacta.com)
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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