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Immupharma lifted by US university study

4

ImmuPharma PLC (LON:IMM) shot up 24% to 17.75p on the back a recent study conducted at Emory University Atlanta in the US.

The study may provide evidence that Immupharma’s 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.

2.45pm: Countryside Properties laid low by coronavirus lock-down

Countryside Properties PLC (LON:CSP), the housebuilder, saw it share price tumble 16% to 310.4p as it reported a huge drop in profits.

The FTSE250 group said it had lost around 184 sales at the end of March when lockdown restrictions were imposed.

These had affected profits by £29mln and pushed up net debt by £83mln.

2.00pm: Prudential hit by the effects of coronavirus in China and Hong Kong

Prudential PLC (LON:PRU) tumbled 7% to 1,016.5p after it reported a sharp fall in sales in the first quarter.

The life assurance firm’s business took a big hit from the effects of coronavirus in China and Hong Kong.

The company said it was continuing to prepare for various ways of spinning off its US arm, Jackson, including a possible minority initial public offer.

1.00pm: Malvern’s shares dive after non-executive director quits 

Malvern International PLC (LON:MLVN), the learning centres operator, saw its shares dive 16% to 0.4p after a board member resigned.

Ramasamy Jayapal, a non-executive director, has resigned with immediate effect.

11.45am: Tertiary Minerals slides after issuing 25mln shares to raise £50,000

Tertiary Minerals PLC (LON:TYM) slumped 28% to 0.215p after it issued equity at 0.2p each.

Precious Metal Capital Group took 25mln new shares as per the share subscription deal announced on 2 April.

The share subscription added £50,000 to the coffers of Tertiary and lifted the number of its shares in issue to just over 792mln.

10.30am: Warm welcome for new non-exec at Iconic Labs

Iconic Labs PLC (LON:ICON) saw its shares soar 33% to 0.03p as it announced the appointment of experienced journalist Katharine Lewis as a non-executive director.

The multi-divisional new media and technology business noted that Lewis has more than 20 years’ experience in senior roles in the media and technology industries, across the UK, US and Asia.

“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,” said John Quinlan, the chief executive officer of Iconic.

9.30am: Byotrol scrubs up well after completing two licensing agreements for sanitisers

Byotrol PLC (LON:BYOT) leapt 17% higher to 5.5p in early trade on Thursday after the hygiene products group revealed it has signed two new licensing agreements.

The company has agreed on a technology licence over Byotrol24, its long-lasting germ-killing sanitiser spray, with a consortium of investors and experienced market professionals operating under the umbrella of Integrated Resources International LLC, based in Tennessee. The initial licence fee is US$250,000 with the company also receiving royalties on sales.

The second agreement has previously been alluded to in the company’s announcements and can now be revealed as being an agreement with SC Johnson Professional Ltd for alcohol-free hand sanitisers.

A contract win at Mountfield Group PLC (LON:MOGP) also sent its shares higher, up 9.5% to 1.15p.

The company’s Connaught Access Flooring subsidiary has won a £1.2mln gig to install 30,000 square metres of raised access flooring for a commercial office refurbishment project at Canary Wharf, London.

The project is currently live on-site and methods of working and safety procedures have been tailored to meet the requirements introduced to protect site workers against the impact of the coronavirus.

Proactive news headlines:

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 to 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.

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).

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.”

Genel Energy PLC (LON:GENL) has highlighted its resilient business model and robust financial position in a trading and operations update ahead of Thursday’s annual general meeting (AGM). The Kurdistan-focused oil producer noted that it has received US$98mln of cash proceeds in the first four months of 2020, and, as at the end of April, it had US$404mln of cash on account – with net cash stated at US$106mln on April 30, 2020. The group said it spent some US$45mln of capex in the four-month period, though forward expenditure was cut significant as the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic took hold. Genel confirmed it is paying US$27.8mln of dividends, at 10 US cents per share, to shareholders on its register on May 29.

Mineral and Financial Investments Limited (LON:MAFL) saw its net asset value (NAV) rise 10.4% from a year earlier in the first quarter of 2020. NAV rose to £5.3mln from £4.8mln a year earlier while NAV per share jumped 10.6% to 15.1p at the end of March 2020 from 13.6p at the end of March 2019. What the company calls its “tactical portfolio” broadly benefited from a 5.5% appreciation of the US dollar versus the sterling. Additionally, gradually increasing its weighting in precious metals from the final quarter of 2018 was a net positive for performance, the investment company said.

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 speciality 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.

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.”

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.”

Iofina PLC (LON:IOF), specialists in the exploration and production of iodine and manufacturers of speciality 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.

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