There was two for the price of one at pharma services group Open Orphan (ORPH), not only its hVIVO subsidiary signing a £5.7m contract with a specialist biotechnology company developing therapeutics for respiratory viral infections, but also bumper interim results.
By Zak Mir
Open Orphan served up revenue figures up 242% for H1 2021, as well as a swing to being EBITDA positive £2.1m (2020: EBITDA loss of £4.1m). Just in case traders were thinking that ORPH is all about COVID-19, the company is targeting non-COVID-19 revenues of £50m in 2022, as it sees the infectious disease market grow rapidly. Post-pandemic, the infectious and respiratory disease market is said to be seeing exponential growth, with an expected global market value of $250bn by 2025. The company said it is forward it is “on track to spin off the remaining three non-core assets in the months ahead.” Open Orphan shareholders’ value in its Poolbeg Pharma (POLB) is £26.2m.
Rainbow Rare Earths (RBW) entered into an exclusive intellectual property licencing agreement with K-Technologies, to use its rare earths separation technology in the Southern African Development Community region. The company said the deal gives it a significant competitive advantage and that the IP is ideally suited to itPhalaborwa Project, where it would enable us to focus on the separation of only the most valuable rare earth oxides within the basket – Nd/Pr, Dy and Tb, which are all critical building blocks for the green revolution.
Independent oil and gas group San Leon Energy (SLE) updated again regarding the outstanding loan notes due from Midwestern Leon Petroleum Limited. Further to the announcement on 6 September 2021, where the company announced that the Conditional Payment Waiver expired, San Leon has agreed with MLPL, Midwestern and Martwestern to a further extension of the Conditional Payment Waiver to the end of September 2021.
Copper-gold exploration and development company, Bezant Resources (BZT) provided an update on progress at the Minemba prospect within the Kalengwa exploration project area in Zambia which the Company has a 30% interest and acts as operator. Assays for the two completed drill holes returned multiple moderate grade copper intervals within an altered and brecciated gabbro intrusive, such as 23m @ 0.27% Cu from 57m depth, including 5m @ 0.44% Cu from 69m (MB-02). The company said the geophysics programme shows that the Minemba prospect has considerable potential and it will continue its testing.
Given that the global climate crisis is inextricably linked with the supply of water, it is significant that Modern Water, the environmental division of DeepVerge, is participating as a leading sponsor and panel host at the Reuters IMPACT virtual global conference next month. The conference is focused on mobilising global business to deliver on climate change and Gerard Brandon, CEO of DeepVerge, will be hosting a panel to discuss ‘What’s our water trying to tell us, a global perspective’. In-content advertising company, Mirriad Advertising (MIRI) announces a strategic partnership with Influential, the world’s largest influencer marketing company. The company said the partnership aligns with its strategy of fulfilling the increasing demand for the Mirriad in-content solution in an area that is critical to engaging with modern consumers, both from a reach and relevance perspective.
Clinical stage drug development company Evgen Pharma (EVG) said it notes the publication of data in glioblastoma cells (GBM) in the pre-print journal BioRxIV. The in vitro data show effectiveness of the company’s lead asset SFX-01 in glioblastoma cells and 3D spheroids from several patients in New Zealand. In these in vitro experiments, SFX-01 demonstrated inhibition of glioblastoma cell growth, confirming work previously announced by the company in another academic centre.
UK based diagnostics developer, Cizzle Biotechnology (CIZ) continue to play on the front foot fundamentally, as it executed a royalty sharing agreement with St George Street Capital, the UK-based biomedical charity. In June it delivered a MoU with SGSC on potential future royalty payments from the commercialisation of St George Street’s therapeutic asset AZD1656 of up to £5 million, plus potentially further payments from the use of a companion diagnostic.
There was a reality check and brave talk for MyHealthChecked (MHC) in the wake of the consumer home-testing healthcare company noting the recent Government statement regarding measures to simplify international travel. The company said that whilst the Government has announced the removal of Day 2 testing from an October date to be confirmed, it remain confident that monthly testing volumes will remain a significant contributor to growth throughout the remainder of the financial year, even with levels naturally lower than the peak levels seen around summer holiday period.
East Africa-focused Shanta Gold (SHG) announced a resource update for the West Kenya Project. The company said that following a rapid Phase 1 exploration programme at West Kenya in 2021, it has been able to announce a first indicated resource for the project of 117,600 oz. The high-grade nature of the ore body at Isulu has contributed to a conversion rate of over 100% following new discovered zones during infill drilling.
Cyprus focused Caerus Mineral Resources (CMRS) delivered an exploration update for the dump evaluation programme and general exploration of the Kalavasos Project. It said that assays confirm that dumps contain significant copper and gold mineralisation, in particular, gold grades in 85% of all samples collected returned anomalous grades. Subject to metallurgical test work, and based on high-level in-house economic assessment, grades are considered sufficient to warrant an expanded evaluation programme.
It has been interesting that shares of IGas (IGAS) shot up at the end of last week, to be greeted by news today that it has signed a MoU with SSE for the development of a geothermal district heating project in Stoke-on-Trent. SSE will develop and deliver a district heating network in Stoke-on-Trent working with GTE and Stoke-on-Trent City Council. The MoU grants exclusivity to SSE and GTE with regard to the Project for a period of 12 months with certain milestones including executing a heat offtake agreement in relation to GTE’s future geothermal plant.
Recent weeks saw shares of Russia focused PGM and battery metals group Eurasia (EUA) rebound sharply from year lows near 14p. The company has used this strength to serve up a £11m placing at 26p. The net proceeds are intended to be used primarily to finance the joint venture with Rosgeo, including Nyud, Moroshkovoe and other major Rosgeo JV platinum group metals and battery metals open pit deposits. Eurasia said its cash position before the Private Placement was about $20m with no debt and after significant investments made into the West Kytlim operating mines and plants expansion, as well as into the Monchetundra project as announced on 1 September 2021. The cash position from now will be approximately $35m.
It is always interesting when a company gets “outed” by media speculation. Interestingly enough, SSE (SSE) said it noted press comments regarding plans to split the SSE Group. While the company said it is currently building more offshore wind than any company in the world, expanding internationally, and investing in the low-carbon electricity infrastructure that society needs, there has been no decision to break up the SSE Group. So apparently that is the end of that particular form of speculation for now.
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