Avacta Group plc (AIM: AVCT), the developer of Affimer® biotherapeutics and reagents, announced that AffyXell Therapeutics, the joint venture with Daewoong Pharmaceutical, closed a $7.3m Series A venture capital funding.
The round was raised from a group of venture funds including Samsung Venture Investment Corporation, Shinhan Venture Investment, Smilegate Investment, Shinhan Investment Corporation, Kolon Investment, Stonebridge Ventures, and Gyeongnam Venture Investment.
The company intends to use the funds to further develop its pipeline of next generation cell and gene therapies.
Established in January as a Joint Venture to develop novel mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) therapies, AffyXell is combining Avacta’s Affimer platform with Daewoong’s MSC platform such that the stem cells are genetically modified to produce and secrete therapeutic Affimer proteins in situ in the patient. The Affimer proteins are designed to enhance the therapeutic effects of the MSC creating a novel, next generation cell therapy platform.
Under the terms of the collaboration and licence agreement, Avacta’s research and development costs associated with the generation of the Affimer proteins are funded by AffyXell whilst Avacta retains the rights to commercialise the Affimer proteins outside the field of cell therapies.
The capital will be used to further the development of MSCs engineered to produce Affimer molecules generated by Avacta that suppress immune response and restore immune balance. While initially focusing on inflammatory and autoimmune diseases and prevention of organ transplant rejection, longer term goals could also include applications in regenerative medicine, infectious diseases and oncology.