Affimed N.V. Value Stock - Dividend - Research Selection
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Description of the company
We are a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on discovering and developing highly targeted cancer immunotherapies. Our product candidates are being developed in the field of immuno-oncology, which represents an innovative approach to cancer treatment that seeks to harness the body’s own immune defenses to fight tumor cells. The most potent cells of the human defense arsenal are types of white blood cells called Natural Killer cells, or NK-cells, and T-cells. Our proprietary, next-generation bispecific antibodies, which we call TandAbs because of their tandem antibody structure, are designed to direct and establish a bridge between either NK-cells or T-cells and cancer cells. Our TandAbs have the ability to bring NK-cells or T-cells into proximity and trigger a signal cascade that leads to the destruction of cancer cells. Due to their novel tetravalent architecture (which provides for four binding domains), our TandAbs bind to their targets with high affinity and have half-lives that allow regular intravenous administration, with different dosing schemes being explored to allow for improved exposure in heavily pretreated patient populations. We believe, based on their mechanism of action and the preclinical and clinical data we have generated to date, that our product candidates, alone or in combination, may ultimately improve response rates, clinical outcomes and survival in cancer patients and could eventually become a cornerstone of modern targeted oncology care.
Affimed was founded in 2000 based on technology developed by the group led by Professor Melvyn Little at Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum, the German Cancer Research Center, or DKFZ, in Heidelberg.
Focusing our efforts on antibodies specifically binding NK-cells through CD16A, a dominant activating receptor on innate immune cells, we have built a clinical and preclinical pipeline of NK-cell-engaging bispecific antibodies designed to activate both innate and adaptive immunity. Compared to a variety of T-cell-engaging technologies, our NK-cell engagers appear to have a better safety profile and have the potential to achieve more potent and deeper immune responses through enhancing crosstalk of innate to adaptive immunity. Their safety profiles also make our molecules suitable for development as combination therapies (e.g. with checkpoint inhibitors, or CPIs, or adoptive NK-cells). Building on our leadership in the NK-cell space, we are also developing tetravalent, bispecific alternative antibody formats (AAFs) for NK-cell engagement offering varying PK/PD profiles relevant to certain diseases.
As of today, we have focused our research and development efforts on four proprietary programs for which we retain global commercial rights. Because our TandAbs bind with receptors that are known to be present on a number of types of cancer cells, each of our TandAb product candidates could be developed for the treatment of several different cancers. We intend to initially develop our two clinical stage product candidates in orphan or high-medical need indications, including as a salvage therapy for patients who have relapsed after, or are refractory to, that is who do not respond to treatment with, standard therapies, which we refer to as relapsed/refractory. These patients have a limited life expectancy and few therapeutic options. We believe this strategy will allow for a faster path to approval and will likely require smaller clinical studies compared to indications with more therapeutic options and larger patient populations. We believe such specialized market segments in oncology can be effectively targeted with a small and dedicated marketing and sales team. We currently intend to establish a commercial sales force in the United States and/or Europe to commercialize our product candidates when and if they are approved.
We also see an opportunity in the clinical development of our TandAbs in combination with other agents that harness the immune system to fight cancer cells, such as CPIs. Such combinations of cancer immunotherapies may ultimately prove beneficial for larger patient populations in earlier stages of diseases, beyond the relapsed/refractory disease setting.
Our offices and laboratories are located at the Technology Park adjacent to the DKFZ in Heidelberg, where we employ 53 personnel, approximately 70% of whom have an advanced academic degree. Including AbCheck and Affimed Inc. personnel, our total headcount is 83 (74 full time equivalents). We are led by experienced executives with a track record of successful product development, approvals and launches, specifically of biologics. Our supervisory board includes highly experienced experts from the pharmaceutical and biotech industries, with a specific background in hematology.
In 2009, we formed AbCheck, our 100% owned, independently run antibody screening platform company, located in the Czech Republic. AbCheck is devoted to the generation and optimization of fully human antibodies. Its technologies include a combined phage and yeast display antibody library and a proprietary algorithm to optimize affinity, stability and manufacturing efficiency. AbCheck also uses a super human library as well as their newly developed mass humanization technology to discover and optimize high-quality human antibodies. In addition to providing candidates for Affimed projects, AbCheck is recognized for its expertise in antibody discovery throughout the United States and Europe and has been working with globally active pharmaceutical companies such as Eli Lilly, Daiichi Sankyo, Pierre Fabre and others.