£45m fundraise announced by life sciences firm

Wetherby-based life sciences business Avacta Group says it intends to raise up to £45m.

This will be through a placing  to institutional and other investors, a direct subscription with the company and offers to retail and other investors via the PrimaryBid platform of up to 37,500,000 new ordinary shares of 10 pence each in the company, in each case at a price of 120 pence per share.

Avacta says it plans to use the extra money to fund the rapid scale-up of its Affimer® diagnostic products opportunities, including COVID-19 antigen rapid testing and an accelerated expansion of its in-house Affimer® and pre|CISION™ cancer therapy pipeline.

The company’s revenues for the 17 month period to 31 December 2019 have grown 100% to £5.5m from £2.76m (12 months ended 31 July 2018).

And Avacta notes that its order intake and sales pipeline into 2020 are the strongest to date.

The firm’s update this morning adds: “The Group has made good commercial progress which is reflected in strong revenue growth and a growing pipeline of Affimer® technology evaluations with a range of partners.

“These evaluations are progressing well, and the primary objective remains converting these into license deals that will drive future royalty revenue.

“Additionally, the Group is making very good progress with its own pipeline of diagnostic tests which will also deliver licensing opportunities in the medium term.

The ongoing development of COVID-19 antigen tests, including a saliva-based lateral flow test strip, requires the expansion of the Group’s research and development, and production facilities at its site in Wetherby to meet the anticipated demand for Affimer reagent production. 

“The Group is also growing its senior team in the diagnostics division to include regulatory affairs and product management roles, and expand the commercial and technical teams to support the development and commercialisation of the COVID-19 test and its wider product pipeline.”

finnCap is acting as nominated adviser and finnCap, Zeus Capital and Beech Hill Securities are acting as joint brokers with regards to the placing.