Verona Pharma PLC (LON:VRP) caught the eye late on as its shares surged 89% to 81.5p.

There was no news today, but the biotech is set to report results soon from a phase IIb study to assess the safety and efficacy of its inhaled drug for severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

The treatment, nebulized ensifentrine, will be used in harness with a long-acting bronchodilator to help people with moderate-to-severe forms of the disease.

Verona has said previously that it expects the read-out from the study around the end of the year, after which it will sit down with the US Food & Drug Administration to work out next steps for the drug.

Agronomics completes its latest funding round 

Meat from laboratories specialist Agromonics Limited (LON:ANIC) was among the few notable lunchtime risers as the post-Christmas period kicked in.

Agronomics is chaired by Richard Reed one of the founders of Innocent drinks and has veteran investor Jim Mellon as its majority shareholder.

The business takes stakes in companies developing alternatives to meat and fish – cellular agriculture – where no animals are killed.

Reed is convinced that both ethically and environmentally the Agronomics ethos is a winner.

Shares were up 12% today to 6.88p, ostensibly on the dotting of the I’s on a £7.7mln placing carried out earlier this month at 5.5p.

Or just possibly it was the sight (and thought) of all those turkeys on Christmas dinner tables.

AAOG slips back

Shareholders have quickly changed their minds on Anglo African Oil & Gas PLC (LON:AAOG) becoming a cash shell.

Having started the day up 10%, they are now down by a similar amount at 0.45p.

The company has been in a pickle in respect of its Congolese assets, not having the ackers to finance the planned drilling of an appraisal well in the Tilapia field but it has now come to an arrangement with Canada’s Zenith Energy Ltd (LON:ZEN) (CVE:ZEE).

Zenith is buying an 80% interest in the AAOG subsidiary that holds a 56% interest in Tilapia.

Zenith will fund Anglo African’s (AAOG’s) share of a US$5.5mln work programme on Tilapia and will fund the upfront cash element of any signature bonus payable for the new licence negotiated with the Congolese Ministry of Hydrocarbons.

Zentih fared better rising by 10% to 1.88p.

Proactive news headlines:

Anglo African Oil & Gas PLC (LON:AAOG) has provisionally agreed to sell part of its interest in the Tilapia field in the Republic of Congo. It has entered into a conditional sale and purchase agreement with Zenith Energy Ltd (LON:ZEN) (CVE:ZEE) for the sale of an 80% interest in the subsidiary that holds a 56% interest in Tilapia. Zenith has agreed to pay £1mln for the stake, of which £500,000 is in cash payable in six equal monthly instalments from the date of completion, while £500,000 will be satisfied in Zenith shares.

88 Energy Limited (LON:88E) (ASX:88E) has said the initial snow trail from Dalton Highway to the Charlie-1 appraisal well in Alaska is complete. In an update issued on 26 December, the company said that construction of an ice road to the well, at Project Icewine on the Central North Slope, is on course to commence before the end of the year, weather permitting.

Chaarat Gold Holdings Limited (LON:CGH), has concluded a stabilisation agreement with the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic regarding the company’s Tulkubash and Kyzyltash projects. The agreement is based on a scheme in the Kyrgyz Republic designed to encourage investment in the country by providing investors formal assurances on the stability of the tax regime. Meanwhile, Chaarat revealed project construction continues to progress well at Tulkubash, with the first gold production on track for late 2021.

Adamas Finance Asia Limited (LON:ADAM) said one of its portfolio assets, Future Metal, has commenced production of dolomite. The investment company has an 85% shareholding in Future Metal (formerly known as Hong Kong Mining), representing its largest investment by value in the portfolio. Future Metal said the processing line has been installed at its quarry in Xi County, Linfen City, in the Shanxi Province of China and the initial run of the processing plant has been successfully conducted.