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Korean-based Daewoong Pharmaceutical will establish a joint venture (JV) with a UK emerging biopharma named Avacta, which is focusing on protein therapeutics. The two companies seek to leverage synergies and collaborate to develop drugs to treat immune diseases based on cell therapy platforms.

The Joint Venture

The JV will be led by Daewoong’ Jeon Seng-ho as CEO of the joint venture.  The new venture will research functional stem cells and develop therapeutics—the new company will research functional stem cells and develop therapeutics based on existing technologies, reported the Korea Biomedical Review.

What will Daewoong & Avacta contribute to this JV?

Daewoong will license out their mesenchymal stem cell technology to the joint venture while Avacta will license its target-specific . 

What is Daewoong’s stem cell platform?

Daewoong Pharmaceutical’s stem cell platform (DW-MSC) is a mesenchymal stem cell, derived from embryonic stem cells and induced pluripotent stem cells. These cells can be mass produced unlike the existing adult tissue-derived mesenchymal stem cells. Daewoong’s platform can maximize stem cell efficacy through gene production.

What is Avacta’s Affirmer technology?

乐动体育It is a protein therapeutics platform based on a naturally occurring protein in the body called Steflin A. The Affirmer protein is an antibody-like protein with characteristics similar to that of an antibody. This protein is about one tenth the size a conventional antibody. Hence, the technology maintains a significant advantage.

CE Comment

CEO Jeon Seng-ho notes, “The establishment of the joint venture….is a milestone in the open collaboration business that Daewoong Pharmaceutical has bene promoting for a long time.” He continued, “By combining Avacta’s Affirmer technology with Daewoong’s stem cell technology, we will be able to develop a new non-antibody protein-type therapeutic paradigm that can overcome the limitations of existing antibody-based therapies.”     

How Big are the two companies?

乐动体育Daewoong Pharmaceuticals has nearly 1,000 employees and $1 billion in revenue. Avacta, founded in 2012 in the UK, employs between 50 to 100 and operated at a financial loss of about $9 million with about $6.5 million in the bank.   

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