Affimer, which is based on a small protein that can be produced quickly and has a high specificity and affinity to a large number of targets, hopes to offer an alternative.
Avacta has created a wide range of Affimer inhibitors of PD-L1, a protein present on the surface of a cell.
Affimer molecule AVA004 has been chosen as the clinical candidate for trials of Affimer because it had demonstrated "excellent" properties in trials, the company said.
Avacta said the selection of AVA004 puts it on track to submit US indicative new drug and clinical trial applications for an Affimer PD-L1 inhibitor by the end of 2020, to be shortly followed by dosing of first patients.
Alastair Smith, Avacta Group chief executive officer, said, "I am delighted to report that Moderna has exercised its option to enter into this exclusive license agreement with respect to certain Affimer molecules that have been generated through our collaboration.
has exercised its option to enter an exclusive licensing agreement with Avacta Group pic., with respect to certain Affimers against a potential therapeutic target under the companies' ongoing research alliance.
There are many opportunities for such a platform technology, and the recent collaboration with Tufts University Medical School is one example of a potentially game changing approach that is possible with Affimers
Both parties have conducted a proof-of-concept study designed to demonstrate that Avacta's Affimer
technology could be integrated with Glythera's Permalink conjugation chemistry to offer a technically superior drug conjugate platform with shorter development times, simpler, more consistent production and greater chemical stability.
TMAC - tumour microenvironment activated drug conjugates - is a new form of cancer immunotheraphy combining affimers
with chemotherapies in a single drug using a linker designed to only release the chemotherapy in the tumour microenvironment, Avacta explained.
Avacta chief executive Dr Alastair Smith said: "The Affimer
technology is 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.
The essential method development, performed by Professor Beynon's team, will provide the company with a solid competitive offering to underpin the commercialisation of its Affimer
microarrays and, potentially, generate new and licensable biomarker assets in house, the firm said further.