Avacta's revenues rose by 26% to £2.74m in the year to the end of July with Avacta Life Sciences revenue up at £1.15m (2016: £0.70m), in line with market expectations and Avacta Animal Health revenue of £1.59m (2016: £1.46m).

The loss from continuing operations rose to £6.37m (2016: £4.65m) and the loss per share increased to 9.31p (2016: 6.86p).

The group had cash balances at £13.17m (2016: £19.52m) well ahead of market expectations.

Group chief executive Dr Alastair Smith said: 'The past twelve months have been an exceptionally strong period of performance and we have never been more excited about the potential for the Affimer technology.

'The commercial traction for Affimer reagents has continued to build which is reflected in the strong growth in the number of technology evaluations and license deals that have been agreed.

'The first licence deal with a global diagnostics company represents a significant milestone and we are confident of delivering further licence deals which are key steps on the path to building a profitable Affimer reagents business.

'Major milestones that have been delivered in the past year include the positive outcome of the first animal efficacy data and excellent results from a major immunogenicity trial on human samples.

'The pipeline of immuno-oncology assets now includes Affimers for T-cell recruitment and co-stimulatory receptor agonists which plays to the key technical strengths of the Affimer technology for immuno-oncology.

'The progress with the lead PD-L1 inhibitor programme, and the overall de-risking of the Affimer therapeutic platform, has been outstanding.

'These technical successes have, as expected, generated growing interest from potential partners and we continue to work with them providing data and supporting technology evaluations that will eventually lead to licensing deals.

'Antibodies have become the dominant technology in markets worth in excess of $100 billion annually and this is despite some significant limitations.

'The opportunity therefore, for a competitive alternative such as the Affimer technology, is very large.

'We believe that 2018 could be a very significant year for the Group and I look forward to further updating the market on future progress.'