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Avacta reports increased revenue as chemo trials progress

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Avacata [LON:AVCT], the AIM-listed biotech company published its preliminary results for the year ending 31st December 2022 this morning (25th April).

As previously reported, the Yorkshire-based life sciences company has had a positive year, as it progressed it line-leading AVA6000 targeted chemotherapy treatment through Phase 1 trials and was making significant progress on its AVA3996 precision tumour-targeted proteasome inhibitor.

As expected, revenues saw a near 235% increase to GBP9.7m, up from GBP2.9m in 2021. Cash-in-hand also increased to GBP41.8m from banked deposits of GBP26.2m a year ago.

However, as Avacta intensified its research on two fronts, operating losses increased around 10% from a loss of GBP26.4m in 2021 to a loss of GBP32.6m in 2022 and loss per share increased to 15.5p from 10.6p in 2021.


Enhanced war-chest

That said, the company was in a stronger financial position in 2023 having built up its war-chest through a GBP61.3m fundraising exercise which included a GBP55m unsecured convertible bond issued at a 5% discount by Heights Capital Ireland, which post-discount added GBP52.25m to the company’s treasury and a GBP9m placement.

The Wetherby-based life sciences company’s shares opened at 130.12p this morning, and fell to 123p in the first fifteen minutes of trading before recovering to around 129.7p as the first hour closed out. Avacta has offered a 12.7% year-to-date return and a -7.9% one-year return, with its shares ranging between 90.97p and 187.98p.

The company has a market capitalisation of GBP355.5m. Avacta listed in January 2016.

Avacta used the results presentation to update the market on its operational activities over the year. Leading with the progress on its AVA6000 Doxorubicin trials, the company confirmed it had completed testing on four cohorts of human test patients, increasing Doxorubicin dosing from 80mg/m2 to 200mg/m2 as it tries to establish a maximum tolerated dose. As previously reported, Doxorubicin is an effective anti-cancer drug it is systemic in nature, dissolves in the bloodstream and travels around the whole body, and unfortunately not only attacks cancerous cells, but healthy ones that are vulnerable to the drug too, such as the heart, or liver, or lungs. This means that many patients can’t take it, as they are too ill or weak and won’t survive the treatment. The Phase 1 trial looks at the safety and efficacy of a drug and Avacta is working to find the maximum dosage of Doxorubicin it can deliver to attack cancerous tumours without any side effects or danger to patients. The US Food and Drug Administration has granted AVA6000 Orphan Drug Designation for the treatment of soft tissue sarcoma.

Inhibitor research

The company also updated the market on its AVA3996 proteasome inhibitor platform. As previously reported, the proteasome is the cell’s garbage disposal unit, that breaks down protein waste. It’s a really important part of healthy cell function, as without it a cell can’t survive. This is true for healthy cells as well as cancerous cells. Targeting the Fibroblast activation protein alpha, or the ‘FAP-alpha’ protein, Avacta hopes that AVA3996 can deliver an inhibitor to the tumours as they develop.

Alastair Smith, chief executive officer of Avacta said in a statement this morning: “I am very encouraged by the favourable safety data emerging from the ongoing phase 1a dose escalation study of AVA6000, which has confirmed the tumour targeting potential of the pre|CISION platform. We look forward to starting the dose expansion part of the phase 1 study later this year.”

He continued: “The progress made during 2022 has positioned Avacta for further strong growth during 2023 and I look forward to updating the market fully as we hit key milestones across the group.”

2023 will be an important year for Avacta, making this small biotech firm ‘one to watch.’

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This article does not constitute investment advice. Do your own research or consult a professional advisor.

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