Image Source: Avacta
Avacta Group has partnered with Cytiva to develop a coronavirus test.
Chloe Shakesby

Yorkshire biotech company to raise £45m for development of coronavirus test

A Yorkshire biotechnology business has announced a share placing to raise £45m to support the development of a coronavirus test.

Avacta Group, based in Wetherby, has partnered with Cytiva to develop a test designed to give a result within minutes for use by both healthcare professionals and consumers.

The company has set out plans to raise up to £45m through a placing to investors via the PrimaryBid platform, as well as institutional and other investors, a subscription, and offers to retail.

The placing will be made of up to 37.5 million new ordinary shares in the company at a price of 120p per share.

Avacta plans to use £10m from the placing to upscale its diagnostics business, including working capital for the Covid-19 test, expansion of in-house diagnostics product development capabilities, and the acceleration of broader diagnostics product pipeline and commercial partnerships.

The remaining £35m will support the accelerated expansion of the company’s pipeline of differentiated cancer therapies.

Avacta commented: “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.”

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