N4 Pharma PLC (LON:N4P) soared 37% to 9.24p in the afternoon after demonstrating that its Nuvec platform loaded with a plasmid DNA can be dried, stored at convenient temperatures and reconstituted without any drop in transfection.

The AIM-listed firm is hoping that Nuvec, a delivery system for cancer treatments and vaccines, will interest vaccine developers to help with distribution and storage of their jabs.

“The recent success of Pfizer and Moderna with an mRNA Covid-19 vaccine shows the potential for nucleic acid vaccines. However, it also highlights that these vaccines have certain limitations, in that they often require extreme storage conditions,” said chief executive Nigel Theobald.

1.55pm: Arix Bioscience rises after portfolio company signs deal worth up to US$7bn deal

Arix Bioscience PLC (LON:ARIX) climbed 12% to 176.5p after its portfolio company Artios Pharma signed a three-year strategic research collaboration with Germany’s Merck to discover and develop multiple-precision oncology drugs.

As part of the agreement, Artios, which has pioneered DNA Damage Response cancer treatments, will receive an upfront payment of US$30mln with Merck having an option over the development of compounds on up to eight targets.

On each of these targets, Artios will be eligible to receive up to US$860mln plus double-digit royalty payments on net sales, which could make this a US$7bn deal.

12.20pm: Mirada declines after swinging to interim loss

Mirada PLC (LON:MIRA) shed 11% to 75.5p after swinging to an interim US$1.5mln loss before tax from a US$98,000 profit seen last year.

The AIM-listed company, which provides software to online platforms such as Disney+ and Netflix, has stronger comparatives in the six months to September 2019 after selling off its subsidiary Mirada Connect for US$2.7mln.

In the six months to last September, revenue slipped 4% to US$260,000 due to a temporary reduction in investment in deployments by the largest customer at the beginning of COVID-19.

11.15am: Eve Sleep in demand after raising forecasts again

Eve Sleep PLC (LON:EVE) advanced 7% to 4.7p after once again raising forecasts thanks to positive trading momentum due to advertisements on telly and a successful Black Friday period.

The sleep wellness brand now expects full-year revenues to be at least £24mln, while the underlying loss should narrow 77% to £2.5mln compared to last year.

The previous expectations were for around £22mln of revenues and “a commensurate reduction” in losses.

10am: Hochschild Mining lower after chairman slashes stake

Hochschild Mining PLC (LON:HOC) slumped 15% to 200.4p after Pelham Investment Corporation, controlled by chairman Eduardo Hochschild, slashed its stake in the miner.

The investment vehicle raised £133mln after offloading 61mln shares to institutional investors at 200p each, a 16% discount to Wednesday’s closing price, representing 12% of the entire company.

Pelham now owns 38% of the FTSE 250 firm.

Meanwhile, Wameja Limited (LON:WJA) shed 6% to 6.3p after announcing it has commenced an audit of the third party intellectual property embedded in the Paymobile platform utilised by Botswana Telecommunications.

Wameja, which is a joint venture partner with Mastercard in the HomeSend global payment hub, previously gave notice of a potential claim under the indemnity given by Wameja to Seamless in an agreement in respect of licences for certain third-party intellectual property utilised by Botswana Telecommunications, as a user of eServGlobal’s Paymobile platform.

It then advised that Seamless had notified it of the potential for further claims under the indemnity in the agreement regarding third-party intellectual property utilised in eServGlobal’s Paymobile platform across multiple customers, including Botswana Telecommunications.

9am: Braveheart Investment shoots higher after unveiling special dividend

Braveheart Investment Group PLC (LON:BRH) was an early riser on Thursday, shooting 41% higher to 50p after revealing it will pay a special dividend following the sale of its stake in Remote Monitored Systems.

The investor will pay out 42.75p per share, compared to Friday’s closing price of 35.5p, with the payment worth £15.5mln in total.

Braveheart sold all of its shares in RMS for £17.4mln after the price rocketed on hopes for the anti-viral/coronavirus (COVID-19) face mask developed by Pharm2Farm which RMS acquired earlier this year and in which the investment group had a big stake in.

Elsewhere, Directa Plus PLC (LON:DCTA) added 5% to 84.25p after announcing sales will beat forecasts in the financial year to end December thanks to good sales of graphene-enhanced face masks.

The firm’s G+ enhanced face masks, including Co-Masks, have been very popular both with individual and corporate customers, while Setcar, the group’s environmental division, has also contributed to the improved revenue expectations for the current year.

As a result, total revenues for the year will be around €6mln (£5.4mln) from last year’s £5.5mln.

Proactive news headlines:

Braveheart Investment Group PLC (LON:BRH) has said it is to pay a special dividend worth more than the current share price following the sale of its stake in Remote Monitored Systems PLC. The special dividend payment is 42.75p per share, compared to a current share price of 35.5p, and is worth £15.5mln in total. Braveheart sold all of its shares in RMS for £17.4mln after the price rocketed on hopes for the anti-viral/coronavirus (COVID-19) face mask developed by Pharm2Farm which RMS acquired earlier this year in which the investment group had a big stake in. AIM-listed Braveheart said it made a profit of £402,000 (2019: £122,000 loss) in the six months to end September 2020 on revenues of £895,000 (2019:£250,000).

Touchstone Exploration Inc (LON:TXP) (CVE:TXP) said the Ortoire exploration block in Trinidad continues to exceed expectations as it confirmed the completion of drilling at the Cascadura Deep-1 exploration well. Cascadura Deep-1 was drilled down to a total depth of 8,303 feet and was paused before reaching the planned depth of 10,600 feet because high-pressure gas zones were encountered while drilling. Nevertheless, the well encountered some 2,100 feet of the targeted Herrera sands across multiple stacked zones.

Directa Plus PLC (LON:DCTA) said good sales of graphene-enhanced face masks will mean its sales beating forecasts in the current year to end December. Sales of G+ enhanced face masks, including Co-Masks, have been very popular both with individual and corporate customers, said Directa, while Setcar, the group’s Environmental division, has also contributed to the improved revenue expectations for the current year. As a result, total revenues for the year will be around €6mln (2019: £5.5mln), the AIM-listed group added. Directa Plus said it had also been granted a second patent on the equipment used to manufacture its graphene additives, which will boost capacity five times and lower maintenance costs.

Clipper Logistics PLC (LON:CLG) has reported a strong rise in profits in its first half as business was boosted by an accelerated shift to e-commerce during the coronavirus pandemic. In its results for the six months to October 31, 2020, the group reported a pre-tax profit of £14.3mln, up 38.2% year-on-year, while revenues increased 19.8% to £305.2mln. As a result of the improved earnings, the company’s interim dividend was hiked 14.3% to 4p per share, while cash generated from operations rose to £49.1mln from £19.1mln last year.

Zephyr Energy PLC (LON:ZPHR) has told investors that Cyclone Drilling Inc has been hired for the ‘dual-use’ State 16-2 well which remains on-track to spud before the year’s end. Cyclone was selected via a competitive process including extensive technical and commercial evaluation, the company noted. Cyclone’s fleet of modern rigs was purpose-built for operating in the remote locations and rugged environment of the Rockies, it added. Zephyr also noted that Cyclone has recent experience drilling similar stratigraphic wells, including a 10,200-foot-deep stratigraphic well drilled in 2019 which was also part-funded by the US Department of Energy (DOE).

IQ-AI Limited (LON:IQAI) said the latest release of Imaging Biometrics’ (IB) StoneChecker software for assessing kidney stones has a number of important improvements that “point to a very a very exciting 2021” for the product. Developers have added workflow enhancements for retrieving computed tomography datasets as well as streamlining the reporting of the application’s output. IQ-AI said it is confident this latest release is “now positioned for widespread clinical adoption”.

Argo Blockchain PLC (LON:ARB) has reported higher revenues and wider mining margins over November, with the firm highlighting “extremely exciting” developments over the period in the cryptocurrency sector. In an update, the digital currency miner reported an average monthly mining margin of around 57% for November compared to 40% in October, while revenues generated for the period rose to £1.48mln from £1.2mln.

genedrive PLC (LON:GDR) said data from an 11-month study of its molecular diagnostic device in neonatal intensive care will be ready in early 2021. Hospitals in Manchester and Liverpool used the assay to screen babies before administering certain antibiotics known to cause deafness. In all, around 750 infants were assessed using the MT-RNR1 ID kit.

IronRidge Resources Limited (LON:IRR) has reported initial high-grade and broad low-grade drilling results from the third phase drilling programme at the Ehuasso and Ebilassokro and targets, both within the Zaranou Gold Project area. The African-focused minerals exploration company noted that the license borders with Ghana and is along strike from significant operating gold mines including Chirano – 5 million ounces (Moz) -Bibiani – 5.5Moz – and Ahafo – 17Moz. The group said initial reverse circulation (RC) and aircore (AC) drilling results for 4 metres (m) composites over the Ehuasso and Ebilassokro targets from the third phase drilling programme currently underway have been received, with highlights reported at a 0.1 grames per ton (g/t) cut-off and maximum 4m of internal dilution.

Impax Asset Management Group PLC (LON:IPX) has seen a surge of new money into its green and sustainable investment funds over the past year. Assets under management jumped 34% to £20.2bn in the year to September 2020 (2019: £15bn), with net inflows more than doubling to £3.5bn (2019: £1.4bn). The influx of new money has continued into the current year, the fund manager said, with net inflows of £1.9bn boosting assets under management to £23.4bn as at the end of November.

Live Company Group PLC (LON:LVCG) said it has established a new division, Live Company Sports and Entertainment Pty Limited (LCSE), which will focus on live sports, entertainment and music events. The AIM-listed media firm said the new division will target the fee-based promotion and organisation of global sports and entertainment events including motorsport, sailing, cycling, golf, music and lifestyle, adding that several existing contracts for events will be novated to LCSE’s South African subsidiary from Worldsport South Africa (WSSA). Live Company said the first event the division will focus on the largest participant based cycle race in the world, the Pick n Pay cycle tour, which is planned to take place in Cape Town in March 2021.

Kromek Group PLC (LON:KMK) has announced the launch of the D5 RIID, the world’s smallest high-performance radioisotope identification device. The ruggedised device, with ultra-low false alarm rate, is designed for military, homeland security and industrial use, the AIM-listed firm said. The D5 RIID was developed under a programme with the Defense Threat Reduction Agency of the US Department of Defense and detects a wide range of sources, including special nuclear material and mixed, shielded and heavily masked configurations, the supplier of detection technology noted.

Strategic Minerals PLC (LON:SML), the iron, copper and tungsten junior, has raised £650,000 through a placing at 0.4p per share to progress its three key projects. Directors and employees have also accepted £48,900 of their salaries in shares, with both the placing and salary shares having a warrant attached. Strategic Minerals said it needs to renew equipment at the Cobre magnetite stockpile and push ahead with work at the Leigh Creek copper mine (LCCM)  in Australia and the Redmoor tin/tungsten project in Cornwall.

Block Energy PLC (LON:BLOE) said it has closed the bookbuild for a share placing which is set to raise £5.28mln to be used to boost production at the West Rustavi field and recently acquired projects. The company, in a statement after Wednesday’s close launching the fundraise, had said it intended to bring in £5mln. An accelerated bookbuild process was undertaken by stockbroker Mirabaud Securities. It announced on Thursday that some 176mln new shares will be sold to investors at a price of 3p per share. Block shares closed at 4.15p on Wednesday, and were down 15% to 3.50p in early trade on Thursday, still above the placing price.

Mkango Resources Ltd. (LON:MKA) (CVE:MKA) has announced the completion of an extensive hand-auger drilling and soil sampling programme to identify rutile prospects within its 869 square kilometre Mchinji licence (EPL 0544/19) in Malawi,  The group said four geological teams have completed 75 auger drill holes containing 581 samples and a further 446 soil samples have been collected from a soil sampling programme on a regular 500 metre (m) sampling grid with 21 soil samples collected from other points of interest.

Power Metal Resources PLC (LON:POW) the AIM-listed metals exploration and development company said it has received notices to exercise warrants over 5,000,000 new ordinary shares of 0.1p each in the company at an exercise price of 0.7p pence per ordinary share. It added that subscription monies of £35,000 have been received by Power Metal in respect of these exercises.