Biotherapeutics and reagents producer Avacta Group said Tuesday annual losses widened following an acceleration in research and development investment.

For the 12 months to 21 July, pre-tax losses widened to £10.39m from £7.89m and revenue rose 1.02% to £2.76m.

Profits were weighed down by a 31% jump in research and development costs to £3.78m.

A recent £11.6m fundraise in July would provide the company with the 'financial runway' to hit important near-term milestones in the coming two years, Avacta said.

The company said it was confident that the group would deliver at least one substantial pharmaceutical licensing deal, but admitted that these significant license deals would 'take time to win via technology evaluations'. 'We are very pleased with the significant operational progress made over the past year which firmly underpins our progress towards key near term commercial and clinical milestones which represent major value inflection points for the Affimer platform and the Group,' said Dr Alastair Smith, Chief Executive Officer of Avacta Group. 'We are very confident that the Group will deliver at least one substantial pharmaceutical licensing deal whilst the technology is still at a pre-clinical stage, during which, we remain focused on getting first-in-man clinical data in 2020.' 'The substantial number of technology evaluations of Affimer reagents that we have established is now showing signs of bearing fruit. We expect to be able to report on reagents licensing deals in a number of application areas in the coming financial year that will validate the licensing business model which we are pursuing, and in turn, will underpin future royalty revenue streams.'

At 9:39am: (LON:AVCT) Avacta Group PLC share price was 0p at 25p