Kavango Resources PLC (LON:KAV) shares jumped higher on Thursday as the explorer highlighted progress at key projects in recent months. In an update, the group said its flagship Botswana exploration assets continue to advance and it noted that there has so far been minimal disruption as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, as it had already focused work on desktop-based analysis and modelling. For the Kalahari Suture Zone (KSZ), for example, the company said it and its consultants are presently constructing a new model incorporating findings from a successful 2019 drill programme, with the aim of defining high-grade targets for the next campaign. Kavango noted that it is fully funded to the next phase of exploration at KSZ.

European Metals Holdings Ltd (LON:EMH) has said that the CEZ investment in the Cinovec project has been approved by shareholders at an extraordinary general meeting held on Thursday. The investment gives CEZ a 51% interest in Geomet, the EMH subsidiary that holds the Cinovec licences. It means that the Cinovec project is now fully funded up to the decision to construct, which as the company highlights, will, in turn, pave the way for the project to become the first European Union producer of battery-grade lithium compounds from a local lithium resource.

Open Orphan PLC (LON:ORPH) has revealed that its hVIVO subsidiary has commenced the testing of an anti-viral drug for treating coronavirus (COVID-19) on behalf of its client Nearmedic International. Nearmedic is a specialist pharmaceutical, biotechnological and medical business headquartered in Moscow; it is running tests using hVIVO’s virology expertise and laboratory capability on an anti-viral drug that could potentially be used to combat SARS-CoV2 (COVID-19) infections. Open Orphan said this drug has both potential anti-viral and anti-inflammatory activity and as such could reduce both virus infectivity and disease severity respectively.

Braveheart Investment Group PLC (LON:BRH) has said its investee company Kirkstall is to collaborate with Animal Free Research UK to supply its Quasivivo proprietary testing equipment for use in coronavirus (COVID-19) research. Braveheart owns 64.7% of Kirkstall. In its update, Braveheart noted that another firm in its portfolio, Pharm 2 Farm (51.7%) is also now producing medical-grade hand sanitiser gel and plans to increase production to 2,000 litres per day by the end of May.

Ariana Resources PLC (LON:AAU) has reported what it says is a “significant” increase in the mineral resource estimate for its Kiziltepe mine in Turkey. The AIM-listed explorer said the updated estimate increased the resource at the site by 25% to around 321,000 ounces of gold and 5mln ounces of silver. The increase also represents a 72% uplift over the feasibility study resource on an undepleted gold only basis.

FastForward Innovations Limited (LON:FFWD) has announced a share exchange agreement to move its stake in Entertainment Direct Asia (EDA) to a new investee company. Following shareholder approval, FastForward said, it has transferred its shares in EDA to social commerce platform firm Yooma Corp. for US$2.25 each, valuing EDA at US$390,000. Once completed, the AIM-listed firm will hold 7.88% of Yooma and its interest will be valued at US$61,500.

Next Fifteen Communications Group PLC (LON:NFC) has reported a double-digit rise in full-year profit and said it continues to win new work in spite of the coronavirus pandemic. For the year ended January 31, 2020, the digital communications firm posted a pre-tax profit of £40.2mln, up 12% on the prior year, while net revenues climbed 11% to £248.5mln. The group also said it had continued to “win new work”, having recently added DuPont, Google Cloud and O2 as new clients.

Mineral & Financial Investments Limited (LON:MAFL) told investors that exploration plans are now in place for its part-owned Lagoa Salgada volcanogenic massive sulphide (VMS) project in Portugal The exploration programme, detailed by operator Ascendant Resources, follows a robust Preliminary Economic Assessment and include an extensive drill programme (8,000 metres) and IP data capture in the Lagoa Salgada area. Drilling is also planned for the North Zone to convert and upgrade minerals resources, to lift the overall tonnage and grade. Exploration will also focus on the South Zone which is described as highly prospective and copper-rich. The drill contract is currently on stand-by with activity currently suspended due to the coronavirus lockdown in Portugal.

Amryt Pharma PLC (LON:AMYT) has said the read-out from its phase III study of its AP101 cream, a potential breakthrough treatment for a rare skin condition is likely late in the third quarter, or early in the fourth quarter of this year. The timeline was provided in a statement in which Amryt said its Global EASE trial would be concluded slightly earlier than anticipated against the backdrop of the coronavirus outbreak. Independent advice suggested the impact at this advanced stage of the recruitment process the would be “statistically negligible”. The company’s AP101 cream is being developed for epidermolysis bullosa, a chronic and distressing genetic skin disorder that causes the skin layers and internal body linings to separate.

Berkeley Energia PLC (LON:BKY) has highlighted the strengthening of uranium prices amidst the coronavirus pandemic turmoil. In a quarterly update, the Spanish mine developer noted that the uranium price is up by around 30% in the year to date as firms such as Kazatomprom and Cameco have flagged supply disruption. The uncertainty has seen the uranium spot price rise to US$32.50 per pound, the company added.

Prospects for shares in gold miners have never looked as good as currently, according to specialist investment trust Baker Steel Resources PLC (LON:BSRT). There are strong signs that gold is at the start of a major upcycle, if previous cycles are any indicator, said the London-listed fund. And even though gold mining shares have made a strong recovery since the sector’s lows last month, valuations remain far below historical levels relative to the price of the metal itself, it added.

Collagen Solutions PLC (LON:COS) has highlighted “positive revenue momentum” in several of its business categories despite challenges towards the end of its full-year due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. In a trading update for the year ended March 31, the AIM-listed biomaterials and regenerative medicines specialist reported 58% growth in revenues from its tissue business alongside 10% growth from development and 1% growth in contract manufacturing.

Redx Pharma PLC (LON:REDX) said it has received funding from a £5mln short-term debt facility agreed at the end of March with US healthcare firm Redmile The AIM-listed group said the funding was received in early April and will provide operating cash into the third quarter of 2020. Redx also said it was also continuing discussions with Redmile regarding the US firm’s intention to provide further long-term funding to the business.

Faron Pharmaceuticals Oy (LON:FARN) (NASDAQFIRSTNORTH:FARON), the clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company, said that its proposed UK share placing has been subscribed for in full and, as a consequence, the company has raised gross proceeds of approximately £12.8mln (€14mln).

H&T GROUP PLC (LON:HAT) has said it was informed on April 21 that between April 16 and 20, its chief executive, John Nichols exercised options for a total of 93,686 ordinary shares at a price of 245.5p each under the firm’s 2010 Option Scheme. It noted that Nichols sold 85,924 ordinary shares to satisfy tax only and 7,762 shares were retained as a result of the transaction. The company added that it has issued and allotted 127,601 new ordinary shares due to the exercise of the options.

Gfinity PLC (LON:GFIN) has been notified that well-known property investor Nigel Wray has reduced his stake in the esports company to 5%, down from the 7% previously held.

AFC Energy PLC (LON:AFC), a leading provider of hydrogen power generation technologies, announced that at its Annual General Meeting held on Thursday all resolutions were duly passed. 

Chesnara PLC (LON:CSN) has announced that its 2020 Annual General Meeting will be held at the company’ offices, West Strand Business Park, West Strand Road, Preston, PR1 8UY on Tuesday May 26 at 11.00am. It added that copies of the group’s 2019 Annual Report & Accounts and Notice of AGM may be viewed in the Investor Relations section of the company’s website.

Verona Pharma PLC (LON:VRP) (NASDAQ:VRNA), a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on respiratory diseases,  announced that it will report its audited financial results for the three months ended March 31, 2020, on Thursday, April 30, and also host an investment community conference call at 2.00pm BST to discuss the results and provide a corporate update. To participate in the call, investors should dial one of the following numbers and reference conference ID 2667888: 866-940-4574 for callers in the United States; 0800 028 8438 for callers in the United Kingdom; 0800 181 5287 for callers in Germany. It sad a live webcast will be available on the Events and Presentations link on the Investors page of the company’s website – www.veronapharma.com – and an audio replay will be available there for 30 days.