Avvinity Therapeutics is an early stage UK biotech company focused on the development and application of its Alphamer™ immunotherapeutic technology platform for the treatment of cancers.
Our Alphamer technology harnesses a novel immune adaptation in primates whereby the immune system raises high levels of antibodies to certain ‘non-self’ sugars (alpha-gal and rhamnose) presented by bacteria in the gut.
These antibodies represent several types of antibody types (including IgG and IgM) and are polyclonal (contain a range of antibodies that bind to the sugars in a different places).
We can ‘call down’ these antibodies and hence their immune effects by presenting the ‘non-self’ sugars on the surface of target cancer cells using our Alphamer technology. The resulting innate and adaptive immune responses result not only in the killing of tumour cells, but also a broad immune surveillance against other tumour cells.
Alphamers are modular systemic therapeutic molecules that attach to target cells e.g. cancer cells and present high levels of non-self sugars to ‘call down’ the fire power of the immune system (innate and adaptive.
The molecules are composed of 1) targeting domain (such as an antibody or aptamer) 2) a proprietary linker 3) the effector domain (sugar moiety)
Our focus is oncology
While the Alphamer™ platform has potential application in treating a wide range of diseases, Avvinity is focused on treating cancers, both solid tumours and also hematological (‘liquid’) tumours. Our lead program is an antibody based Alphamer which recognises a validated cancer target called EGFR, which is elevated in more than half of all tumours. Linking sugars to the antibody, our lead Alphamer can trigger a robust immune response involving both the adaptive and innate immune systems.
Mechanism of action
Avvinity Therapeutics was founded in 2016 as successful immuno-oncology joint venture between Horizon Discovery and Centauri Therapeutics, before becoming an independent biotech company in 2020.
Avvinity was establised in 2016 as a joint venture to combine Horizon’s expertise in drug discovery with Centauri’s Alphamer technology to launch a proprietary platform for the discovery and development of immuno-oncology therapeutics for solid tumours, leukaemia and lymphomas.
In 2020, and with seed funding from LifeArc and the UK Government’s Future Fund, the company was granted full ownership of the Alphamer platform and operates as a standalone company.
In 2021, we intend to select our first therapeutic candidate molecule, for our anti-EGFR program and to raise additional funds to progress this exciting program through to a first-in-man, clinical proof of concept study.
Our mission is clear and focused
“First and foremost, exploit our Alphamer technology through our proprietary pipeline of novel cancer programs.
Secondly, make our technology available to partner companies working in other disease areas.”
Nick Staples, CEO (Interim)
1) Oncology Pipeline
Avvinity is building a pipeline of new cancer targeted Alphamer programs, with a lead program targeting those cancers that overexpress EGFR on the cell surface. EGFR, which is overexpressed in the majority of cancers, is a validated cancer target with several products currently being used to treat patients. However, the clinical utility of these drugs is restricted by pre-existing and acquired mutations in the functional pathway in which EGFR is involved. Our Aphamer approach promises much broader clinical utility, by exploiting the over expression of EGFR to recruit the immune system.