Avacta Group has made substantial progress in the past year in demonstrating the performance and differentiation of its Affimer technology in key applications, shareholders at the annual general meeting today will be told.

Avacta said the custom Affimer order book had grown 70% YOY and half year revenue, operating losses and cash balances were in line with market forecasts.

It said multiple paid-for technology evaluations and collaborations were now ongoing with four out of the top 10 global large pharma and more than 10 other biotech and pharma companies; eight research tools companies and several diagnostics companies including one of the top three.

It also said that several technology evaluations were under way that could lead to the first reagents license deals during 2017.

Group chief executive Dr Alastair Smith said: "We have made substantial progress over the past year in demonstrating the performance and differentiation of our Affimer technology in key applications.

"It is pleasing that this is now translating into a custom Affimer order book and paid-for commercial evaluations that could ultimately lead to licensing deals.

"While it will take time for these evaluations to conclude, it is reasonable to expect to see the first of these in 2017.

"Our in-house therapeutic development programme continues apace and we are delighted to have seen positive results from the first in vivo studies that demonstrate efficacy, tolerability and suitable pharmacokinetics properties of Affimer molecules.

"These are huge steps forward that we believe de-risks the platform considerably.

"Our collaborations with partners such as Moderna, Glythera and the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre provide additional opportunities to develop therapeutic applications of the Affimer technology.

"With our expectation of strong news flow to underpin increasing shareholder value this year, we start 2017 with great enthusiasm."