OXFORD, United Kingdom, and BALTIMORE, Dec. 13, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Vaccitech plc (NASDAQ: VACC), a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company engaged in the discovery and development of novel immunotherapies and vaccines, today announced that it has acquired US-based Avidea Technologies, Inc. (“Avidea”).
The consideration to Avidea’s existing shareholders is $40 million (comprised of approximately $12.5 million in cash and $27.5 million in Vaccitech American Depository Shares) in addition to potential future payments that are conditioned upon the achievement of certain development milestones.
The acquisition of Avidea strengthens Vaccitech’s position as a leader in immunotherapies and vaccines.
Product candidates: Avidea’s existing product candidates are based on its SNAPvaxTM platform. As reported in several recent high-profile publications, Nature Biotechnology and Nature Immunology, the SNAPvaxTM platform uses self-assembly to co-deliver multiple antigens and immunomodulators in nanoparticles of precise, programmable size and composition, thereby enabling immunotherapy product candidates with tighter control over immune responses. The SNAPvaxTM platform can be configured either to induce high magnitude cytotoxic T cells for treating cancer and chronic infections or to induce regulatory T cells for treating autoimmunity and allergies.
Within oncology, Avidea’s platform will expand Vaccitech’s pool of target antigens and can be used to augment Vaccitech’s heterologous prime-boost vaccines, thereby increasing the probability of therapeutic success in this highly competitive area. The ability to induce antigen-specific regulatory CD4+ T cells with SNAPvaxTM also broadens the range of therapeutic areas that Vaccitech can pursue to include allergies and autoimmune diseases, each with significant market potential.
In both therapeutic areas, Avidea’s product candidates have been validated in rigorous preclinical (in vivo) proof of concept studies and are within approximately 12 months of IND filing.
A platform and discovery engine: Avidea was founded in 2016 to develop next generation T cell immunotherapies and draws on its founders’ research at several of the world’s leading institutions, including the Vaccine Research Center at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Johns Hopkins University, and the University of Oxford.
Avidea’s co-founders – Geoffrey Lynn, Ph.D., and Andrew Ishizuka, Ph.D. – will both join Vaccitech to continue to drive development of SNAPvaxTM product candidates and expand Vaccitech’s U.S. operational presence. The deep R&D capabilities of the combined teams will ensure the full potential of the technology platforms can be realized to fuel a more diverse and resilient pipeline of product candidates.
“Avidea’s technologies are complementary to our own ChAdOx-MVA prime-boost platform and create a powerful opportunity to accelerate the development of novel product candidates for exciting new disease areas,” said Bill Enright, Chief Executive Officer of Vaccitech. “This is a timely and synergistic acquisition which also grows our operational and R&D presence in the United States.”
Thomas Evans, M.D., Chief Scientific Officer of Vaccitech, said, “Avidea’s SNAPvaxTM platform is designed to address key limitations of competing approaches and offers an innovative means for developing more effective immunotherapies for oncology, infectious diseases and now autoimmunity. There is potential to mix platforms, such as a ChAdOx and SNAPvax in prime-boost combinations, which may provide advantages in terms of safety, manufacturability, and efficacy for expanding our pipeline. In addition, we have a common heritage: both of our companies emerged from leading vaccine centers, including the University of Oxford, with a common objective to harness the immune system to treat and cure serious diseases.”
“We are excited to become part of Vaccitech and have a shared vision for advancing the next generation of immunotherapies. Vaccitech is a perfect fit for the Avidea team and technology. Our teams are both expert in immunotherapies leveraging T cell and antibody immunity, but we have unique and complementary approaches that we expect will lead to immense synergies. The Vaccitech team has also built an impressive infrastructure and capabilities that will help realize the full potential of Avidea’s technologies and accelerate the development of promising immunotherapy product candidates to patients who need them. Their commitment to R&D also provides an ideal setting to advance several other promising early-stage assets in Avidea’s pipeline, including our programs in RNA delivery,” said Geoffrey Lynn, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of Avidea.