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Open Orphan PLC (LON:ORPH) said that US biotech Codagenix Inc has commissioned its hVIVO arm to carry out a first-in-human trial of a potentially breakthrough nasal vaccine for coronavirus (COVID-19). The phase I study of 48 healthy young adults will take place at hVIVO’s state-of-the-art quarantine facility in London’s Whitechapel. Work is expected to begin in the autumn with first data assessing safety and immunogenicity (whether the drug provokes an immune response) expected by the end of the year.

Norman Broadbent (LON:NBB), the recruitment and consultancy firm, has said it will post an underlying profit for the half-year to June with coronavirus (COVID-19) disruption only slightly affecting revenue. In a statement ahead of the group’s AGM, Norman Broadbent’s chief executive, Mike Brennan said that net fee income in the six months to June 30, 202, declined by less than 10% compared to a year ago while it recorded a small positive underlying profit (EBITDA). “Early and decisive action was taken to align our cost base to changed circumstances and to put in place the necessary technical solutions and working protocols enabling us to continue serving clients despite lockdown,” the CEO added. In a later separate statement, Norman Broadbent announced that all resolutions put to shareholders at the AGM  were duly passed. Furthermore, the group announced the appointment of Alan Miles Howarth as non-executive chair of the group with effect from August 1, 2020, and he will also chair the Remuneration Committee, the Audit Committee and the AIM Compliance Committee. Howarth, 74, has extensive senior executive experience in a range of national and international organisations in both the public and private sector and is chairman of Cerillion PLC.

Digitalbox PLC (LON:DBOX) has said it expects to report an adjusted pre-tax profit “ahead of management expectations” for its first half and that advertising spending is showing signs of recovery in the third quarter. In a trading update for the six months to June 30, 2020, the owner of the Daily Mash and Entertainment Daily websites said trading in the period has been “encouraging” with strong operating margins and a rise in its cash balance to £1.2mln, up from £600,000 on December 31, 2019.

Incanthera PLC (AQSE:INC) said it has filed a new patent application covering its Sol sun cream used to prevent a skin condition called solar keratosis and related cancers. If granted, it will further extend the life of the patent family protecting Sol to 2041. “This new patent filing demonstrates the robust foundations of our Sol programme and strengthens the commercial protection for the product,” Incanthera chairman Tim McCarthy said in a statement. “We are looking forward to the next steps as we bring Sol forward to market-facing partners.”

Union Jack Oil PLC (LON:UJO) said its deal to acquire an extra 3% of the Biscathorpe oil project in Lincolnshire has been given the greenlight from regulator Oil & Gas UK. Once completed, the AIM-quoted company will own a 30% interest in the asset ahead of planned work programmes. “We are pleased to complete this transaction, following which the company will hold a meaningful 30% interest in what we consider to be a key, potentially high-impact project within our well balanced portfolio,” David Bramhill, executive chairman of Union Jack said in a statement.

European Metals Holdings Ltd (ASX:EMH) (LON:EMH) has announced that a “Value Added Services Agreement” with KIC InnoEnergy SE, the principal facilitator and organiser of the European Battery Alliance, has been entered into today by Geomet s.r.o. in respect of the Cinovec lithium project in the Czech Republic. The aim is to sourcing construction finance, source grant funding, and assist in off-take introductions and negotiations. EIT InnoEnergy leads the European Battery Alliance which was initiated by the European Commission in 2017 to create a competitive and sustainable battery cell manufacturing value chain in Europe.

Tower Resources PLC (LON:TRP) has noted the announcement by Global Petroleum Ltd of updated prospective resource estimates in respect of its license PEL 94, covering block 2011A, which is immediately to the south of Tower’s block 1911. Global Petroleum estimates that its Welwitschia Deep Albian carbonate prospect has best estimate unrisked gross prospective resources of 671mln barrels of oil, with a geological chance of success of 17%. In a statement, Tower observed that this figure corresponds to the portion of the prospect on block 2011A, and noted that approximately 25% of the Welwitschia structure lies in block 1911, which is covered by Tower’s license PEL 96.

Ariana Resources PLC (LON:AAU) returned a profit before tax of just under £7mln for the year to December 31, 2019. The profit came as the company continued to enjoy revenues from its Kiziltepe gold mine in Turkey, where operations are now well established. “This has been another outstanding year for Ariana, which has delivered production and profitability well above its plans,” Ariana chairman Michael de Villiers said in the full-year results statement.

Genel Energy PLC (LON:GENL) confirmed it has received just under US$10mln in payments from the Kurdistan Regional Government for oil sales in the month of June. The Taq Taq field partners received a gross payment of US$4.5mln, which sees Genel receive a net share of US$2.4mln. For the Tawke operation, the partners received US$30.2mln gross resulting in a net payment to Genel of US$7.4mln.

Base Resources Ltd (LON:BSE) maintained operational consistency at the Kwale mine in Kenya throughout the second quarter of the year, with production coming in at the higher end of guidance ranges. Meanwhile, demand from customers in the quarter was firm and supported further upward movement in ilmenite prices, while rutile and zircon prices remained steady. Sales of ilmenite, zircon and rutile were all up on a quarter-on-quarter basis.

Mosman Oil And Gas Ltd (LON:MSMN) shares advanced as it told investors that site works have commenced for the planned Falcon-1 well, in Texas. The company described the site work as a relatively simple operation – adding a drill pad to an existing access road – and the drill operation remains on schedule.

FastForward Innovations Ltd (LON:FFWD) said its portfolio firm, EMMAC Life Sciences, has secured approval from Spanish health authorities to cultivate medical cannabis at its Medalchemy manufacturing site in Alicante. EMMAC, in which FastForward holds a 2.3% stake, said Medalchemy now has fully integrated cannabis supply facilities, with a licence to grow medical cannabis commercially as well as extract and manufacture cannabis extract as an active pharmaceutical ingredient.

Pure Gold Mining Inc (CVE:PGM) (LON:PUR) said Tuesday that its promising underground exploration campaign has intersected high-grade gold mineralization from step-out drill holes drilled close to existing underground development at its Red Lake mine project in Ontario. The mine developer posted more encouraging results from underground drilling at its Red Lake mine, saying it has extended gold mineralization out from current design stopes, has “discovered new gold zones that will be integrated into mine planning,” and has “confirmed stopes scheduled for near term production.”

Conroy Gold and Natural Resources PLC (LON:CGNR), the gold exploration and development Company focused on Ireland and Finland, has announced the appointment of Howard M. Bird as a non-executive director of the company with immediate effect. Bird is an internationally experienced Professional Geoscientist (gold, diamonds, platinum and base metals) and has over 30 years’ diverse junior and senior mining company exploration, development and mining experience, including over 15 years at senior executive management level. He was the Senior Vice President of Exploration and Geology at TSX listed Brigus Gold Corp. and has a proven track record contributing to significant company value-added growth with new business development, merger and acquisition, and new deposit exploration discovery success. Bird’s exploration discovery success, development and production included the discovery of three new gold deposits at the Grey Fox Project in Canada and, as part of the corporate development team at Brigus Gold, adding the acquisitions of the Black Fox producing mine, near Timmins, Ontario and the Box mine deposit in northern Saskatchewan.

There is nothing quite like a mining major’s move to put the spotlight on small-cap opportunity. Indeed, a particular cohort of investors – those backing Greatland Gold PLC (LON:GGP) – will this morning have quickly seen the relevance of Rio Tinto’s unveiling of the Winu deposit as a new mine development project in Western Australia’s Paterson region. Rio on Tuesday reported a maiden resource for the Windu discovery defining 503mln tonnes of inferred resources at a grade of 0.45% copper equivalent, and, setting the project on the path towards development.

MBH Corporation Plc (FRA:M8H) said it is considering the possibility of securing new funding from family offices after acquiring four companies so far in 2020. The mini conglomerate said that the new funding would be to help support its acquisition programme going forward, with family offices looking to diversify their portfolios more and many institutional investors also seeking to increase their exposure to the SME market.

EQTEC PLC (LON:EQT) said it has issued a letter to Aries Clean Energy inviting it to withdraw all of its claims of patent infringement made on July 9 as it reiterated its “absolute rejection” to Aries’ claims and its “anti-competitive application of legal threat to achieve undue commercial ends”. The waste gasification to energy group said it has been advised that Aries has yet to legally serve its complaint against EQTEC, and as a result, it has yet to formally respond to the lawsuit. However, EQTEC said its letter has been sent to correct misinformation in Aries’ complaint and to put Aries on notice of its potential liability and legal obligations if it does not withdraw the complaint immediately.

ECR Minerals PLC (LON:ECR), the gold exploration and development company focused on Australia, said it has received notice to exercise warrants over 13,142,857 new ordinary shares in the company, of this number, 7,142,857 new ordinary shares are being issued at 1.125p per share, and 6,000,000 new ordinary shares at 1p per share. Aggregate subscription monies of £140,357.15 have been received by ECR in respect of the exercise of these warrants.

TomCo Energy plc (LON:TOM), the oil shale exploration, development and technology group focused on using innovative technology to unlock unconventional hydrocarbon resources, said it has received notice of exercise of warrants to subscribe for a total of 4,500,000 new ordinary shares which are being issued at a price of 0.8p per share, for a total consideration to the company of £36,000, and relate to warrants issued as part of the company’s placing, announced on July 2, 2020.

Directa Plus PLC (LON:DCTA), a leading producer and supplier of graphene nanoplatelets based products for use in consumer and industrial markets, announced that it has appointed Cenkos Securities as its Nominated Adviser and Joint Broker with immediate effect.

OKYO Pharma Limted (LON:OKYP),  the life sciences and biotechnology company focused on the discovery and development of novel molecules to treat inflammatory dry eye diseases and chronic pain, said it has raised £3,500,000 through the issue of convertible loan notes (CLNs), the proceeds of which will be used for working capital purposes to further the development of its clinical pipeline. The CLNs carry an interest rate of 2.15% compounding with a maximum term of 4 years and convert into ordinary shares at a price of 8.5p per share. Conversion will be subject to shareholder approval and no conversions may take place prior to February 28, 2021. The CLNs were placed with a small number of private investors.

Inspired Energy PLC (LON:INSE) announced that at its general meeting held on Wednesday all resolutions were duly passed by means of a poll backing its proposal announced on July 10, 2020, to raise £30 million through a firm and a conditional placings, and up to £5 million through an open offer. Furthermore, it said the open offer, which closed for acceptances at 11.00am on July 27, 2020, recieved final valid applications including excess entitlements from qualifying shareholders in respect of 8,776,325 open offer shares representing a take-up of approximately 26.24% of the maximum number of shares available. Accordingly, the company has raised total gross proceeds of approximately £31.3mln from the fundraise.

Strategic Minerals PLC (LON:SML), a diversified mineral production and development company actively developing projects prospective for battery metals, announced that at its annual general meeting held on Tuesday all resolutions put to shareholders were duly passed.

Nuformix PLC (LON:NFX) has said its annual general meeting (AGM) will be held at 11.00am on Thursday August 20, 2020, and in light of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and the social distancing measures in place, shareholders will not be able to attend the AGM in person and it will proceed as a virtual closed meeting attended by a shareholding director and one other shareholder who are able to form a quorum.

Edison has issued a review on The Brunner Investment Trust PLC (LON:BUT) noting that it is now managed by Matthew Tillett at Allianz Global Investors (AllianzGI), who worked closely with his predecessor Lucy Macdonald as co-manager on the fund for four years, with a particular focus on income generation. Edison pointed out that Tillett believes “we are in an exciting part of the cycle, where there are extremely interesting investment opportunities for those with a disciplined approach”. It added: “Market weakness earlier in 2020 due to the coronavirus outbreak led to significant volatility in BUT’s valuation, which moved in a range of a 3.5% premium to a 17.2% discount. The trust’s shares are currently trading at an 11.6% discount, which is more in line with the 8.0% to 12.0% range of average discounts over the last one, three, five and 10 years.” All reports published by Edison are available to download free of charge from its website: