FIT Biotech has successfully completed its preclinical pilot study with the Avacta Group ahead of schedule.

The research aimed to establish whether the former’s gtGTU’s technology could be used to stimulate muscle tissue to produce the latter’s Affimer proteins and to then measure the amount of active Affimer drug present in the blood stream.

The collaboration was a proof-of-concept study, which was carried out on mice with the gene being administered into their leg muscles. As a result of the success of the project, the two companies are planning to expand their cooperative efforts.

The results of the study suggested when FIT Biotech’s gtGTU gene delivery platform is used to administer Avacta’s Affimer gene this is more effective than antibodies at inciting muscle tissue to produce therapeutically relevant levels of the Affimer proteins. The levels of the Affimer drug in the blood also remained high for over a month.

Affimer therapeutics are non-antibody binding proteins, which have been engineered for application where antibodies and aptamers, which are oligonucleotide molecules that bind to a specific target molecule, are limited in their effectiveness.

The companies believe the ability to use the gene delivery platform to foster sustained production of the Affimer proteins is a lower cost method to administer biological drugs because it would allow for less frequent dosing, fewer hospital visits and potentially lower treatment costs. FIT Biotech also claim using the platform offers opportunities for safer treatments.

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FIT Biotech CEO Erkki Pekkarinen said: “We are very excited to work with Avacta in developing safer and better biological drugs. Combination of our respective platforms shows great potential and it further demonstrates that FIT Biotech’s gtGTU platform shows promise in developing a wide range of next-generation biological drugs that bring added value to suppliers, healthcare professionals, and most importantly, to the patients. Our technology has significant potential in the market for biological drugs that is expected to grow to $480 billion by 2024.”

Avacta CEO Alastair Smith said: “The potential benefits of achieving a sustained production of Affimer drugs by the body through delivery of just the Affimer DNA are huge and it is very exciting to see such encouraging results of this exploratory study. The combination of the two companies’ technologies appears from this initial data to be very effective and we will now explore the different opportunities to take this forward collaboratively and with larger partners.”