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Alastair Smith

Alastair Smith
Chief Executive

Alastair Smith

Following a career in academia becoming Professor of Molecular Biophysics at Leeds University, I established Avacta in 2006 to identify opportunities for innovative products in life sciences, in particular focusing on biopharmaceutical characterisation and diagnostics.

I have been Chief Executive of Avacta since its inception and have been responsible for the management and strategic development of the company, led the IPO in 2006 and the fund raising and M&A activities of the Group since then.

In 2012 Avacta acquired the Affimer IP from Leeds University, the UK Medical Research Council and others. This transformational acquisition has led to Avacta focusing its investment on developing Affimers for therapeutics, and for the research and diagnostic markets.

Avacta has now established a team of approximately 30 scientists in laboratories in Cambridge UK developing Affimer immuno-oncology therapies with a focus on multi-specific checkpoint inhibitors, novel drug conjugates and targeted agonists. Avacta aims to be in the clinic with its lead programme, a PD-L1/LAG-3 bispecific in 2020 followed by a strong pre-clinical pipeline including a novel, immune-oncology active drug conjugate platform.

At the Group’s site in Wetherby UK around 40 R&D and support staff are developing and commercialising Affimer reagents through licensing for research and diagnostic applications with an emphasis on immunoassays, affinity separation and rapid diagnostics.