Tuesday 09 June 2020
Here is our summary of the day's hottest RNS alerts from across London's Alternative Investments Market (AIM).
Avacta Group (AVCT.LSE)
Update on COVID-19 Test Development with Adeptrix
Avacta Group plc, the developer of Affimer biotherapeutics and reagents, announced that a BAMS diagnostic test for the COVID-19 infection, being developed with its partner Adeptrix (Beverly MA, USA), has reached prototype stage and can detect the coronavirus spike protein in model samples in the concentration range appropriate for a clinical diagnostic test.
The bead-assisted mass spectrometry ("BAMS") assay uses the Affimer reagents specific to the SARS-COV-2 virus recently developed by Avacta to capture the virus spike protein from the sample for rapid detection by mass spectrometry.
A prototype assay has now been developed and evaluated by Adeptrix using model samples containing the coronavirus spike protein. The unique method breaks up the spike protein captured from the samples by Affimer coated beads and is able to identify fragments of the spike protein using mass spectrometry, at concentrations in the range found in patient samples generated from standard throat swabs.
The combination of the selectivity of the Affimer reagents used to capture the virus spike protein with the precision and accuracy of mass spectrometry detection provides for a very high degree of specificity in the assay.
The next step in the development of the final product to run on the installed base of mass spectrometers in clinical laboratories around the world is to evaluate and optimise the BAMS assay using patient samples at laboratory sites in the UK and US which will be done imminently before moving to manufacturing, clinical validation to quantify the sensitivity and specificity and CE/FDA approval for professional use in the summer.
Hutchison China MediTech Limited (HCM.LSE)
Chi-Med Announces $95 million Guangzhou Land Compensation Agreement
Hutchison China MediTech Limited today announced that Hutchison Whampoa Guangzhou Baiyunshan Chinese Medicine Company Limited ("HBYS"), its 50:50 joint venture with Guangzhou Baiyunshan Pharmaceutical Holdings Company Limited, has today entered into an agreement (the "Agreement") with the Guangzhou government for the planned return of HBYS's remaining 34 years land-use rights on its approximately 30,000 square meters unused site ("HBYS Plot 2") at Guang Cong Road, Tong He Town, Baiyun District, Guangzhou (the "Site").
The Site is located in an area of Guangzhou approximately six kilometers from the city center, which will be rezoned from industrial use to commercial and residential usage.
The Agreement signed between HBYS and the Land Development Centre of Guangzhou provides that HBYS will return the Site to the government in consideration for cash compensation of up to US$95 million (the "Compensation"). Under the Agreement, HBYS will receive the Compensation in several stages over a period of approximately one year as all surrender procedures are met and the transaction progresses to completion.
The return of HBYS Plot 2 has no impact on the operations of HBYS. The joint venture continues to operate manufacturing facilities at a second, 59,000 square meter, nearby site in Baiyun District, Guangzhou (HBYS Plot 1) as well as a large new factory, on a 230,000 square meter site, in Bozhou, Anhui Province.
Destiny Pharma Plc (DEST.LSE)
Destiny Pharma awarded grant to fund collaboration with Cardiff University targeting fungal infections
Destiny Pharma plc, a clinical stage biotechnology company focused on the development of novel, hospital infection prevention treatments that address the global challenge of antimicrobial resistance (AMR), today announced it has been jointly awarded a National Biofilms Innovation Centre (NBIC) grant to fund a research collaboration with Cardiff University. The project will establish the potential of three of the Company's proprietary XF drug compounds, DPD‑207, XF-70 and XF-73 as novel treatments for clinically important fungal infections in mucosal mouth models of disease. Financial terms of the collaboration have not been disclosed.
Neil Clark, Chief Executive Officer of Destiny Pharma, added:
"We are very pleased to collaborate with the expert team at Cardiff University supported by NBIC. Our XF drugs have already shown activity against bacteria packed in biofilm communities that represent a significant barrier to antimicrobial treatments. This new collaboration may help us identify additional clinical candidates from our XF platform for oral indications related to biofilms in a billion-dollar market. This is also our first research project targeting fungal infections and joins our other four existing research collaborations funded by approximately £2m of grant awards. The project will explore further the potential of our lead drug, XF-73 that is currently in a phase 2b study, evaluating its potential for the prevention of post-surgical infections."
Professor David Williams, Professor in the College of Biomedical and Life Sciences at Cardiff University School of Dentistry commented:
"Oral candidoses are prevalent and frequently recurrent infections that typically manifest in debilitated individuals. Given the limited number of antifungal agents and the increasing level of resistance exhibited by Candida species, it is essential that new and effective antifungals are developed. My research team in the School of Dentistry at Cardiff University, are delighted to receive the support of the National Biofilms Innovation Centre (NBIC) which facilitates this exciting collaboration with Destiny Pharma in the investigation their XF drug platform for combatting Candida biofilms".
Oral fungal biofilms are responsible for a significant number of serious oral infections, but successful treatment is hindered by biofilm resistance and a limited number of effective antifungal drugs. This project will evaluate the XF drug candidates in combatting Candida biofilms and their infection risk using Cardiff's specialised oral mucosal models.
Oral candidosis occurs in an estimated 2 million people worldwide including approximately ~90% of HIV/AIDS patients, people taking inhaled steroids for asthma, head and neck cancer patients undergoing radiotherapy and some leukaemia and transplant patients. Candida infection of the oesophagus affects an estimated ~1.3 million people and the global oral candidosis market is expected to reach US$ 9.5 billion by 2023.1
NBIC's stated aim is to establish a network of research and innovation capacity catalysing collaborations with industry in the study of biofilms to achieve breakthrough innovation. This is the third grant award from NBIC that Destiny Pharma has received.