Avacta will partner with Glythera to develop a new class of biotherapeutics designed to outperform established antibody–drug conjugates (ADCs), the companies said today, through a collaboration whose value was not disclosed.

The collaboration will evaluate the use of Avacta’s Affimer® technology in combination with Glythera’s PermaLink™ conjugation chemistry

The companies agreed to develop materials and methods to be used in generating Affimer–drug conjugates. These conjugates will be assessed in a proof-of-concept study designed to demonstrate key technical and commercial benefits of the combination over traditional antibody and linker approaches, according to Avacta and Glythera.

Avacta and Glythera also agreed to partner in offering Affimer–drug conjugate development services, and licensing the combined platform, to drug developers.

The companies said Glythera’s PermaLink chemical linkers provide much more stable attachment of the toxin/chemotherapy than ADCs and can potentially reduce off-target toxicity side effects, the companies added.

Avacta added that its Affimer technology offers the ability to control the position and number of toxins in the payload closely compared with ADCs, with greater flexibility to design in the required pharmacokinetics, much shorter development times (“a few weeks,” the company asserts on its website), as well as greater ease and lower costs of production.

The Affimer molecule is also small enough, according to Avacta, to likely improve tumor penetration compared with antibodies that are as much as 10 times larger.

“We are therefore confident that this partnership with Glythera will further demonstrate the utility of the Affimer platform as a powerful approach to generating a broad range of biotherapeutics, creating opportunities for third party licensing of the platform with the potential to generate long-term value for both companies,” Avacta CEO Alastair Smith, Ph.D., said in a statement.

Dr. Smith added that the collaboration with Glythera reflected Avacta’s commitment to commercial partnerships aimed at advancing areas of strategic focus—which the company has identified as delivering a profitable research reagents business alongside therapeutic Affimer collaborations and an in-house therapeutic development pipeline.

Last month, Avacta announced plans to partner with point-of-care diagnostics developer Mologic to develop Affimer-based rapid lateral flow diagnostics for clinical applications under a collaboration whose value was not disclosed.