The partnership teams Avacta’s Affimer protein platform – based on a small human protein that can be engineered to bind with high specificity and affinity to a wide range of protein targets – with Oncosec’s ImmunoPulse technology, to deliver DNA encoded proteins directly into animal model tumours.
DNA encoded immune-modulatory Affimers investigated in the collaboration include Avacta’s PD-L1 inhibitor (AVA04).
The collaboration “will show how well the Oncosec Immunopulse and Avacta Affimer technology work together to deliver clinical relevant dosing levels and efficacy of the PD-L1 blockade in an animal model,” said Avacta CEO Alistair Smith.
“Both companies will also potentially benefit in the future from the development of an Affimer therapeutic candidate delivered using the Oncosec technology through a licensing model,” he told us.
The programme is designed to generate proof of concept data, to create immunotherapy combinations for clinical development and/or licensing.
“If these data are good then there is the potential to partner with larger pharmaceutical companies who are interested in gene delivery of small therapeutic proteins most likely in oncology,” said Smith.
The deal marks Avacta’s third collaboration for Affimer gene therapies, with Moderna Therapeutics and FIT Biotech also using the platform.
Earlier this month, Avacta signed a licensing deal to develop drug conjugates using with Glythera.