Avacta, Daewoong Pharmaceutical Expand Collaboration to Include COVID-19 Therapy

July 30, 2020

Avacta Group has expanded its partnership with Daewoong Pharmaceutical to include Affimer molecules that target viruses, such as coronavirus.

Avacta Group has revealed in a July 29, 2020 press release that its partnership with Daewoong Pharmaceutical has been expanded to include Affimer molecules that target viruses, such as coronavirus, to develop therapies that repair lung damage while also producing neutralizing Affimer molecules to prevent disease progression.

The expanded collaboration and license agreement also includes AffyXell Therapeutics—a joint venture of the companies that was established in South Korea to develop stem cell treatments incorporating Avacta’s neutralizing Affimer therapy for seriously ill COVID-19 patients. AffyXell will work on engineering mesenchymal stem cells to express SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing Affimer molecules for the treatment of seriously ill COVID-19 patients and will also prepare for the rapid development of next-generation stem cell therapies for future infectious respiratory outbreaks.

“I am very pleased to have extended our collaboration and license agreement with Daewoong Pharmaceutical to include the SARS-COV-2 neutralizing Affimer molecules for the treatment of COVID-19 and to create the potential to respond very rapidly in future to global virus threats,” said Dr. Alastair Smith, CEO of Avacta Group, in the press release. “AffyXell will address the need over the coming years for advanced stem cell therapies to treat lung damage caused by cytokine release syndrome suffered by COVID-19 patients and, at the same time, help prevent disease progression in these patients through the action of a neutralizing Affimer therapy.”

Seng-ho Jeon, CEO of Daewoong Pharmaceutical and AffyXell Therapeutics, added, in the press release, “It is very encouraging that AffyXell now has the opportunity to expand the application of its next-generation stem cell platform technology to target viruses. The SARS-COV-2 neutralizing Affimer to be developed in combination with AffyXell’s cell and gene technology is expected to be an innovative solution for COVID-19 patients suffering cytokine release syndrome. Daewoong has also been conducting several research programs and clinical trials for COVID-19. As the COVID-19 crisis has caused great difficulties worldwide, we will continue to focus our efforts to develop a novel therapeutic agent for COVID-19.”

Source: Avacta