Biotherapeutics developer Avacta Group (AIM:AVCT) announced on Wednesday that its partner Cytiva had reported positive initial performance data on the its COVID-19 rapid test strips.
The company said that in mid-May it had provided Cytiva with ‘Affirmer’ reagents which are specific to the SARS-COV-2 spike protein, and that its partner had now developed the first lateral flow test strips using these reagents.
The data from these tests show that the test strips detected spike protein in model samples within the range of concentration one would expect to find within the saliva of patients with COVID-19. Avacta said that they would now continue to refine the test strip define and optimise the product’s performance, in order to generate the highest possible sensitivity in the finalised rapid test strip.
Following optimisations of the test by Cytiva, the design will be passed on to UK manufacturing partners selected by Avacta. The company will work closely with manufacturers to minimise the time frame of manufacturing, clinical validation and regulatory timelines, as time is very much of the essence regarding the utility and potential profitability of the test strips.
Avacta has both short and long-term potential
Speaking on today’s news, and how it adds to the pipeline of opportunities which could make the company attractive to investors, Turner Pope Research Analyst, Barry Gibb, commented:
“Having recently put the necessary financial resources in place, Avacta now appears positioned to reach a major inflection point. Timing of course is of the essence for all COVID-19 product developments. Today’s news confirms rapid progress with the Group’s key POC antigen test, which offers significant commercial opportunity given its potential to limit global progression of the disease. Having partnered with a major international distribution agent and with advanced talks with suitable manufacturers underway, TPI considers the potential for the Group to claim a good part of this prospectively huge international opportunity to be high.”
“Combined with development of its potential ‘neutralising’ therapy for COVID-19 infection and its BAMS diagnostic test being developed with its partner Adeptrix, along with the Group’s core novel cancer immunotherapies that incorporate its two proprietary platforms, Affimer biotherapeutics and pre|CISION tumour targeted chemotherapy, Avacta appears to be ideally placed for the creation of significant short and long term value for shareholders.”
Despite the seemingly positive update, however, Avacta shares
dipped 3.55% to 136.00p per share 24/06/20 12:29 BST.