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With cryptocurrency experts, the FCA, warning punters that they should be prepared to lose everything on digital asset bets accompanying a sharp decline in the likes of Bitcoin. This caused the might Argo Blockchain (ARB) to see its shares fall 19% – around the same percentage for the crypto miner as Bitcoin itself. The stock may have been off even more – after multibagging in just a couple of weeks, if it were not for the announcement that the company has taken early delivery of 1058 mining machines. Therefore, it was the turn of investors to focus on more typical fayre. In particular, the biotech space was back in favour.
The situation was helped by news from several important plays in the pharma area: Open Orphan (ORPH) announced that a first volunteer had been dosed in an intranasal COVID-19 trial. The trial, being carried out by hVivo, part of Open Orphan, is being carried out at its own facility in Whitechapel, London, and will evaluation the ability of US biotech Codagenix’s COVI-VAC vaccine to produce an immune response. The goal would be that COVI-VAC will not only be needle free in its administration, but also provide a much longer immunity against COVID-19 than existing vaccines.
While Open Orphan has had a stellar 18 months on the market, a company which could be the next Open Orphan – Deepverge (DVRG) underlined is gathering fundamental momentum as well. Shares of the environmental and life science AI company rose 4% in the wake of it confirming a maiden EBITDA profitable quarter. It added to this by forecasting £10m revenue guidance for 2021. The company said that despite COVID-19 it had achieved 300% plus revenue growth for the year, and with the acquisition of Modern Water, the newly combined global footprint has extended Labskin’s reach into the US, China and Japan.
There was a return to the glory days of 2020 for novel therapeutics play Tiziana Life Sciences (TILS) as it climbed 11%. This came in the wake of the company announcing it is to present at both the JP Morgan Healthcare Conference 2021, and the Biotech Showcase Digital. As well as taking its show on the road, the company said that it was expecting top line data from its COVID-19 trial this month, multiple Phase 2 trial launces in 2021 and the potential application of Foralumab in a wide range of autoimmune and respiratory diseases.
As well as being joined by a new non-executive Chairman and a new non-executive director to keep him company, Trevor Brown, himself a non-executive director of Remote Monitored Systems (RMS) was busy dealing on the stock market. Fans of Mr Brown will have been relieved to know that following the stock’s recent near tripling, he has been able to cash in 24,000,000 shares at 2.7p. Investors continue to sit on the edge of their seats as they await news regarding RMS’s anti-viral face mask manufacturing subsidiary Pharm2farm, with the company saying that as well as the mask it was looking to commercialise its IP assets across all its businesses.
Edtech play Dev Clever (DEV) continued its recent breakout, with a further 9% gain, as the merits of its offering are underlined by the current pandemic / home schooling experience. Also of note was the way that tech investors Asimilar (ASLR) which had subscribed to a large chunk of Dev Clever shares at 10p, rose by 11% given the way that it is highly leveraged to the ongoing rally in its holding.
There was a further strong recovery for shares of advanced materials engineering group Versarien (VRS), as the shares continued to bask in the glory of last week’s appointment at the company. The promotion of its Head of Research Dr Stephen Hodge, to Chief Technology Officer was enough to add another 26% to the share price of the graphene focused group. Investors in the stock have been gushing with reference to the latest South Korea deal and the IP which has been acquired.
North Sea and Canada operator i3 Energy (I3E) continues to see its shares on the front foot after its announcement last week that it was handing back its Liberator licence after deeming it sub-commercial. Shares in i3, where investors are expecting a maiden dividend in Q1 2021, were up another 6%, off the back of the company saying that stepping back from Liberator would result in a significant license fee saving.
Sticking with the oil and gas space, and there was a new peak in shares of Kistos (KIST), as shares of the “people who brought us Rockrose Energy” continued to rise in anticipation of a deal. The timeframe on such news is set to be by the end of Q1 2021. The near 70% rise in the market cap since the late 2020 float suggests many in the market are looking forward to the management of Kistos delivering once again.
(The opinions expressed here are those of the author, a columnist for Share Talk.)
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