A YORK-based biotech company is expanding its workforce following a raft of deals with global pharmaceutical companies.

Aptamer Group Limited has made a number of key collaborations with large pharma partners, leading to new roles across the business’s scientific and commercial sides.

Aptamer Group has just appointed Jordan Clark as its new chief commercial officer to lead the commercial strategy and business development activities and drive the commercialisation of the Optimer technology across diagnostic and therapeutic sectors.

Jordan joins Aptamer from Diaceutics PLC, where he was chief commercial officer.

The company which is based at York Science Park is working with pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca, investigating Aptamer’s technology for use in the treatment of kidney disease in an extension of an earlier agreement between the two companies.

Together, Aptamer and AZ will examine new ways to deliver gene therapy drugs to the kidney, with the aim to increase the treatment potential of AZ’s drugs and reduce the side effects of these medicines.

A spokesman for AZ said: “By working together with Aptamer Group and leveraging their technology, we aim to identify novel targeting aptamers to deliver drug molecules to the kidney.”

Aptamer Group has also revealed further collaborations with drug development partners in Asia Pacific, including Takeda, the Japanese multinational pharmaceutical company, with which Aptamer will work on a range of drugs to support Takeda’s drug development pipeline.

Another partner is PinotBio, a Korean company, which aims to use Aptamer’s technology in generating new targeted chemotherapeutics for the treatment of blood cancers, such as leukaemia, lymphoma and myeloma.

Whilst working alongside these blue-chip companies, Aptamer has also been busy developing its own lateral flow test for Covid-19.

This is a rapid diagnostic test that delivers results in just 10 minutes and will be CE marked over the coming months. Clinical testing is currently underway at Newcastle and the company aims to deliver this test to support the opening of the economy during the summer.

Dr Arron Tolley, chief executive officer of Aptamer Group, said: “Aptamer technology has great potential to offer faster and cheaper diagnostics and improve drug development to improve outcomes for a range of diseases.

“I am really excited by the progress we are making at Aptamer Group and the recognition we are beginning to see for our technology with a lot of key partners across the industry. It is great that we can continue attracting and retaining top talent to the region, across the commercial and science sides of the business as the company continues to expand.”