Biotech firm signs deals worth £275k

Aptamer Group has announced further agreements with a combined value of up to £275,000 including three of the top ten global pharmaceutical companies.

Several of the partnerships include the potential for additional follow-on fee-for-service development work and potential licencing.

Aptamer’s Optimer binders are short stretches of DNA and RNA molecules that attach to other molecules. They can be used as an antibody alternative in a variety of therapeutic, diagnostic, and target-binding applications, enabling innovation in the life sciences industry.

These agreements represent the latest round of conversions from the company’s expanded sales pipeline, which now totals £3.2m following the conversion of both the recently announced contract with Timser Group and the new deals announced today .

Aptamer now has a £3.9m sales pipeline, up from the £3m stated in last week’s trading update, and a production pipeline value to £1.9m.

The York firm anticipates further contracts, currently in final negotiation stages, will close before the financial year’s end. Directors say they are encouraged by an increase in customer confidence and by the recent rapid expansion of the pipeline.

In relation to the three larger contracts, the first agreement with a top ten pharmaceutical company will develop Optimer binders to improve the manufacture of biologic drugs. The Optimer binders will enable improved drug purification for the customer, preventing product loss. Upon success in this project, there is potential for further downstream development contracts for Aptamer.

The second agreement with a top ten pharmaceutical company will develop a pair of Optimer+ binders for use in a highly sensitive immunoassay platform. The Optimer+ platform was selected due to its rapid development timeline. There is potential for the binders to be used in a clinical trial, supporting further use and follow-on contracts.

The third agreement, with a top five pharmaceutical company, will develop Optimer binders to a known cancer target for use in flow cytometry assays. This will support accurate pharmacokinetic analysis in drug development, where other affinity ligands, such as antibodies, have failed to perform as required.

Dr Arron Tolley, chief technical officer of Aptamer Group, said: “With the sales pipeline expanding and converting, we are beginning to see our strategy to build lower-risk fee-for-service revenues bear fruit. It is important to clarify that contracts in the pharmaceutical industry often take significant time to negotiate, frequently include confidentiality restrictions, and sometimes do not meet the materiality threshold for individual announcements.

“An important part of our strategy includes horizon scanning for material licence fee opportunities, and I am excited to share further information on this in due course. These opportunities, of course, stem from our fee-for-service work streams. We continue to make good progress with our developed Optimer assets, with ongoing discussions around our drug delivery vehicles for the liver.

“Additionally, our work with Unilever developing Optimers in cosmetics applications continues to advance, alongside our partnership with Neuro-Bio to deliver Optimer binders for use in a rapid diagnostic test for Alzheimer’s disease.”