ImmuPharma PLC (LON:IMM) has noted the results of a recent study conducted at Emory University Atlanta in the US, which it postulates may provide evidence that its Lupuzor lupus treatment could help to reduce or prevent the occurrence of the cytokine storm seen in coronavirus patients. The drug development firm said the findings of the study suggested that coronavirus patients and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) sufferers experiencing flares might share similar inflammatory symptoms, underpinned by similar mechanisms. As Lupuzor is a modulator of immune response and an anti-inflammatory agent that has activity against SLE, ImmuPharma said further exploratory work is ongoing to assess the treatment’s “possible potential and clinical program in [coronavirus] patients”.
Tiziana Life Sciences PLC’s (LON:TILS, NASDAQ:TLSA) chief executive believes the company’s StemPrintER technology has the “potential to become an essential prognostic tool” in the fight against breast cancer. Kunwar Shailubhai’s comment followed the release of a scientific abstract ahead of a poster discussion session at the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s (ASCO) virtual conference being held later this month. This poster showed the stem cell biology-based genomic tool had “greater refinement [than] and superiority [to]” than the current market leader, Oncotype DX, in delivering prognostic information on women with ER+/HER2- form of breast cancer. The results were compiled by the European Institute of Oncology in Milan in collaboration with the Royal Marsden Hospital and Queen Mary University in London.
Echo Energy PLC (LON:ECHO) told investors that it has successfully agreed amendments to its €5mln loan, with the lender accepting a deferral of all cash interest payments for 2020. In a statement, the company said the agreement with Lombard Odier Asset Management will help it preserve its existing cash resources. A quarterly interest payment was due for the three months ended March 31, 2020, and that will no longer be required, with no cash interest payments now payable before March 31, 2021. Echo Energy said: “The amendment is a further important step in the successful restructuring of the company’s debts and provides a waiver of default for any non-payment of interest previously due under the loan.”
Bango PLC (LON:BGO) said it has signed a significant platform deal with a major global telecoms provider. The mobile commerce specialist said the deal will run for an initial period of three years and is worth at least £1.5mln with the opportunity to earn additional revenues. Under the agreement, the telecoms provider will deliver a range of third party products and services to its customers through the Bango Platform and will use data insights to optimise the targeting of product offers.
Iconic Labs PLC (LON:ICON), a multi-divisional new media and technology business, has announced the appointment of Katharine Lewis a non-executive director. It noted that Lewis has more than 20 years’ experience in senior roles in the media and technology industries, across the UK, US and Asia including with Bloomberg in New York, at several digital media start-ups, including eBay, and with Fremantle, one of the world’s largest TV and entertainment companies. In 2016 Lewis left Fremantle to create FutureSmartMedia, a media consulting business which advises some of the industry’s leading content distributors, publishers and producers. Commenting on her appointment, John Quinlan, chief executive officer of Iconic Labs, said: “We are delighted that Katharine has agreed to join the board, as not only will her seniority and experience help us further improve our corporate governance, but we will also be able to benefit from her considerable sector experience and contacts. Few others can combine having been at the hard end of both traditional and new digital media with leaders in the fields. She also understands both technology and the process of taking start-ups and early stage companies and helping them grow into serious businesses.”
Verona Pharma PLC (LON:VRP) (NASDAQ:VRNA) said it has been given the regulatory green light for two phase III studies of the nebulised formulation of its drug for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). It followed what is called an End of Phase II meeting with the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) at which the company was provided “clarity” by officials on how it should proceed with the trials. Specifically, the FDA provided its input on the dosing, primary and secondary endpoints, patient population and study design.
Ceres Power Holdings PLC (LON:CWR), a global leader in fuel cell technology and engineering, has announced the appointment of Mark Garrett as its chief operating officer, joining the Executive Management board with effect from August 10, 2020. Ceres said Garrett said joins the company from Ricardo PLC (LON:RCDO) where he held various positions including chief operating officer and group strategy officer. Garrett succeeds the company’s current chief operating officer James Falla, who will leave Ceres in August 2020 to pursue other opportunities.
Oncimmune Holdings PLC (LON:ONC) has said findings from one of its studies are to be featured at a prestigious international cancer research conference this month. The immunodiagnostics group announced that its data from profiling tumour associated antibodies in melanoma patients receiving immune checkpoint inhibitors has been selected as a featured presentation at the upcoming American Society of Clinical Oncology 2020 – ASCO for short – Virtual Scientific Programme, which will take place from May 29 to May 31. The featured presentation will review data assessing samples from patients receiving either Pembrolizumab, Ipilimumab, Nivolumab monotherapy, or combination therapy of Ipilimumab and Nivolumab, which have been analysed on Oncimmune‘s proprietary biomarker discovery engine, SeroTag. The data identified that autoantibodies have a role in predicting clinical outcomes or immune-related adverse events (irAEs).
Ferro-Alloy Resources Limited (LON:FAR), the vanadium mining and processing company with operations based in Southern Kazakhstan has announced that, conditional only on admission becoming effective, it has allotted 3,846,154 ordinary shares of no par value by way of a direct subscription into the company for cash at a price of 6.5p per share, raising a total of £250,000.
MaxCyte Inc (LON:MXCT) has said it will present clinical data from an ongoing phase one trial of its MCY-M11 treatment for ovarian cancer and peritoneal mesothelioma at the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s upcoming annual meeting. The cell-based therapy specialist said the data, which encompasses the first three cohorts of a dose-escalation trial to demonstrate the safety of MCY-M11 and the feasibility of one-day manufacturing, will be available as a poster presentation in the Developmental Therapeutics: Immunotherapy session from 8am Eastern Time (1pm BST) on May 29. The presentation will be entitled: “Feasibility and preliminary safety and efficacy of first-in-human intraperitoneal delivery of MCY-M11, anti-human-mesothelin CAR mRNA transfected into peripheral blood mononuclear cells, for ovarian cancer and malignant peritoneal mesothelioma.”
Westminster Group PLC, the supplier of managed services and technology-based security solutions, racked up its fourth consecutive year of double-digit percentage revenue growth in 2019. Reporting numbers for the year ended December 31, 2019, Westminster said its revenues rose 63% to £10.9mln in 2019, up from £6.7mln in 2018, with a 46% increase in recurring revenues to £5.6mln, up from £3.8mln the year before. It pointed out that the current year so far has been a good one with order intake and revenues ahead of budget. Revenues in the first quarter were up 22% year-on-year at £4.5mln with the company making “a healthy profit” of several hundred thousand pounds in the quarter both before and after-tax as it begins to benefit from new contracts.
Iofina PLC (LON:IOF), specialists in the exploration and production of iodine and manufacturers of specialty chemical products, has announced that its subsidiaries Iofina Chemical Inc., and Iofina Resources Inc., have received loans totalling US$1.09mln from the US government. The loans come under the US Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) which is part of the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES). PPP loans, or a portion of the loan, may be forgivable if loan proceeds are used for eligible purposes, including employee retention and payroll. At this time, the group said, it expects a significant majority of funds received to be eligible for forgiveness under the program.
ADM Energy PLC (LON:ADME) has agreed to pay a US$250,000 deposit, in cash and shares, for its previously announced acquisition of an additional 2.25% interest in the OML 113 asset in Nigeria. “Keeping to our stated plan, we have completed the second stage of this agreement with EER, taking us another step closer to concluding the transaction and increasing our position in OML 113, which is a high-quality asset,” Osamede Okhomina, ADM chief executive said in a statement. “Despite the wider, global macroeconomic issues, we believe the longer-term outlook remains very positive within our market. We are focused on continuing to execute our strategy and are well placed to do so having recently strengthened our financial position,” he added.
KRM22 PLC (LON:KRM) saw its shares rise on Thursday as it completed a share placing at a premium, raising around £1.14mln. The risk management software firm said it had raised the proceeds through the issue of around 3.8mln new shares at a price of 30p each, a 27.7% premium to its closing price last Thursday, the last trading day before Monday when it unveiled that it had exceeded its fundraising target. KRM22 also said its executive chairman and chief executive, Keith Todd, chief financial officer Kim Suter and non-executive director Steve Sparke intend to make a further equity investment of around £135,000 in the company through a subscription for 499,998 new shares at the placing price. The company said the proceeds of the fundraising will be used for general working capital purposes.
Europa Oil & Gas Holdings PLC (LON:EOG) chairman Simon Oddie has told investors he is encouraged by the progress being made with the onshore Wressle oil field project in Lincolnshire. It comes after the project operator provided an update on the site work, which has been continuing during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Four groundwater monitoring boreholes were completed at the Wressle site, as required under the project’s approvals, and a three-month period of monitoring and analysis will now take place.
OptiBiotix Health PLC (LON:OPTI) has been recognised as a “key player” in a report on the status of the human microbiome market and its global outlook for 2020-2024. The report from Market Study Report LLC (MSR) said over recent years the human microbiome market, which was valued at US$351.8mln in 2018, has witnessed “considerable growth on the back of rising incidences of diabetes, growing geriatric population, and continuous research and development conducted by pharmaceutical manufacturers and academia”.
Hannam & Partners has set a price target for Greatland Gold PLC of 12.9p, implying 47% upside from the current share price. The share price valuation derives in part from a calculation of the net present value of Greatland’s Havieron gold project in the Paterson region of Western Australia. Hannam sets the value of Havieron at a preliminary US$1.67bn, and estimates that Greatland’s share of the development costs is likely to amount to US$33.9mln.
Seeing Machines Limited (LON:SEE), the advanced computer vision technology company that designs AI-powered operator monitoring systems to improve transport safety, said it has appointed Michael Brown as a non-executive director with immediate effect. Brown is a highly experienced financial markets professional based in London and comes to the Seeing Machines board with a deep knowledge of the AIM market and small to mid-cap technology companies, as well as previous plc non-executive and observer board roles. He is currently a portfolio manager within the Volantis team at Lombard Odier Investment Managers. Kate Hill, Seeing Machines chair commented: “We are delighted to welcome Michael to the board of Seeing Machines and look forward to leveraging his deep knowledge and experience of the financial markets in London and New York, and particularly, the AIM market, skills which will nicely complement those of our existing board members. He has been closely associated with the company over the past few years as Lombard Odier’s interest has gradually increased and I know Seeing Machines will benefit from his contribution.”
Salt Lake Potash Limited (LON:SO4) (ASX:SO4) has announced the appointment of Matt Bungey as a non-executive director with immediate effect. Bungey is a chemical engineer with over 20 years’ experience in Natural Resources and was most recently a managing director and Head of Mining and Metals with Barclays Investment Bank in London. He commenced his career as a Process Engineer with BHP at the Centre for Minerals Technology in the United States where he was responsible for process design and research into bacterial leaching of copper-sulphide ore. He then spent several years in the Marketing Division of BHP Billiton based in The Hague. Bungey has worked as a consultant to SO4 since the beginning of 2019 and has played a key role in the advancement of the Lake Way Project. Tony Swiericzuk, Salt Lake’s chief executive officer commented: “Since 2019, Matt has made a significant contribution to the rapid advancement of our Lake Way Project. He brings wide-ranging experience in chemical engineering, mining finance and corporate strategy to the SO4 board and is a valuable appointment.”
Aminex PLC (LON:AEX) has announced the appointments of Harald van Dongen and Jan Gunnar Opsal as non-executive directors of the company with immediate effect. It noted that Opsal will replace Ola Fjeld, who steps down as a non-executive director after almost four years on the board, also with immediate effect. The appointments of both Opsal and van Dongen come under the terms of the shareholder agreement with Eclipse Investments LLC which has the right to appoint two directors to the Aminex board and, as in previous years, Eclipse will receive an annual directors’ fee of £35,000 for each of the directors. It noted that Opsal is currently the general manager of ARA Norway Invest, an associate company of Eclipse and The Zubair Corporation, which focuses on investing in innovative petroleum technology; while van Dongen is currently Value Assurance Manager of ARA Petroleum LLC, also an associate company of Eclipse and The Zubair Corporation. Aminex chairman John Bell commented: “We warmly welcome Harald and Jan Gunnar to the Board of Aminex and look forward to working with them. We have known Harald for many years, and he has supported Aminex’s strategic initiatives in the past. As Aminex moves to the next phase both Harald and Jan Gunnar bring a wealth of experience and capability that strengthens and complements the Board. These skills will be extremely beneficial as Aminex charts and delivers the next chapter of its strategic development while maintaining a low-cost management structure.”
Touchstone Exploration Inc (LON:TXP) (TSE:TXP) chief executive Paul Baay told investors that he remains confident about the long-term strategy, especially its focus on gas which provides greater security amidst crude market volatility as the firm reported first-quarter results. The AIM-quoted firm earlier this month inked a framework agreement for the sale of natural gas and gas liquids produced from the Ortoire block, onshore Trinidad. It followed breakthrough successes in the first two exploration wells drilled at Ortoire – Coho and Cascadura – and ahead of a third well, Chinook, which is planned for later in 2020. Touchstone is presently projected to begin commercial production within Ortoire by October 2020.
Iofina PLC (LON:IOF), specialists in the exploration and production of iodine and manufacturers of specialty chemical products, has announced that its subsidiaries Iofina Chemical Inc., and Iofina Resources Inc., have received loans totalling US$1.09mln under the US Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) which is part of the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES). PPP loans, or a portion of the loan, may be forgivable if loan proceeds are used for eligible purposes, including employee retention and payroll. At this time, the group said, it expects a significant majority of funds received to be eligible for forgiveness under the program. As previously reported on May 4, 2020, brine to Iofina’s IO#8 plant has been reduced and the plant is currently not operating at this time. Whilst not certain, the company said it expects viable brine volumes to return to IO#8 in the third quarter of 2020 as the US economy recovers and oil prices stabilize. The company added that its four other IOsorb iodine plants are unaffected and continue to operate as expected.
Silence Therapeutics PLC (LON:SLN), a leader in the discovery, development and delivery of novel RNA therapeutics for the treatment of serious diseases, has announced that its chief financial officer, Dr Rob Quinn will be participating in a fireside chat at the 2020 RBC Capital Markets Global Healthcare Virtual Conference on Wednesday, May 20, 2020, at 10.55am EDT (3.55pm BST). A live webcast of the event can be accessed via the Investors section of the company’s website at www.silence-therapeutics.com . An archived replay of the webcast will be available for 60 days on the website after the conference.
Proactive Research has issued a note on Open Orphan PLC (LON:ORPH), a specialist contract research organisation (CRO) offering pharmaceutical services focused on orphan drugs and a world leader in the testing of vaccines and anti-viral treatments through the use of human challenge study services. In it, analyst Emma Ulker says: “The game-changing target to develop a coronavirus human viral challenge model would provide a unique service, potentially accelerating the development of vaccines and anti-viral treatments for COVID-19. ORPH looks to license FLU-v, a differentiated universal flu vaccine, developed by its 49% owned joint venture Imutex acquired through the hVIVO merger, offering risk-free upside prospects.”
Proactive Research has also issued a note on Primary Health Properties PLC (LON:PHP) which released a positive trading update, including the disclosure that three projects in Ireland, with a total development cost of €48.3mln, had reached project completion or near completion. In it analysts Ed Stacey said: “This represents a significant derisking of the development pipeline. In the same release, the company announced that it would maintain its progressive dividend policy, at a run-rate of 1.475p per quarter. Finally, PHP also disclosed that its rent reviews during the first quarter of 2020 led to an average annualised increase of 2.4%. This compares with 1.9% annualised uplift during full-year (FY) 2019 and represents a continuation of a sequence of improving rent reviews.”