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Avacta higher after Bach Biosciences exercises options


Avacta Group PLC (LON:AVCT) managed the neat trick of issuing new shares and seeing its share price rise 8.3% to 136.5p.

The developer of innovative cancer therapies and diagnostics said that Bach Biosciences had exercised options over 581mln shares following the successful submission of the clinical trial application to the UK Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency for AVA6000, its proposed treatment for patients with locally advanced or metastatic selected solid tumours.

Following the issue of shares to Bach, Avacta has just over 252mln shares in issue.

12.120pm: Virgin Money returns to the black

Virgin Money UK PLC (LON:VMUK) climbed 6.6% to 140.55p as returned to profit in the first quarter of its financial year.

Despite that, the challenger bank maintained its cautious economic outlook.

The bank said it remained prudently positioned but was able to report a statutory profit after making no new provisions for bad debt; indeed its mortgage provisions were slightly lower this time around.

11.10am: Stake-building lifts Thor and Greatland Gold

Thor Mining PLC (LON:THR) (ASX:THR) saw its shares rise by 7.3% to 0.925p after a holding in company revealed that ASX-listed Artemis Resources Limited has a 2.5% stake in the explorer.

Meanwhile, Greatland Gold PLC (LON:GGP) saw its shares add 6.8% to 25.375p after it was revealed late on Monday that Gervaise Heddle, its chief executive officer, purchased 500,000 shares in the company at a price of 22.4p each for a total consideration of £112,000 on February 1, 2021.

Following the purchase, Heddle holds 74,500,000 Greatland ordinary shares, representing 1.9% of the issued share capital.

10.00am: Dev Clever higher after cash injection

Dev Clever Holdings PLC (LON:DEV) jumped 11% to 21p after it received a cash injection.

The developer of online career guidance and development platforms and consumer engagement experiences said One Nine Two has agreed to spend £10mln subscribing for shares at varying prices.

Initially, it will subscribe for 20mln shares at 20p and subsequently it will buy 20mln more shares at 30p a pop in the event that the mid-market share price of Dev Clever rises above 34p for five consecutive days.

9.00am: Novacyt and Tiziana lifted by coronavirus news

Novacyt SA (LON:NCYT) climbed 7.0% to 883p in early trade on Tuesday after it launched several new tests designed to diagnose the new variants of SARS-CoV-2.

Novacyt SAid its existing polymerase chain reaction (PCR) coronavirus (COVID-19) portfolio remains highly accurate in detecting all published SARS-CoV-2 variants but it has augmented the range with a set of assays, bearing the brand name SNPsig, to aid in the diagnosis of new variants.

The SNPsig assays offer the ability to track variants on-site and to generate a result in hours, compared to the current approach of next-generation sequencing, which is typically constrained by limited capacity, cost and an off-site multi-day turnaround, Novacyt SAid.

In other COVID-19 related news, Tiziana Life Sciences PLC (LON:TILS) shares rose 16% to 172.5p on the back of positive results from a clinical trial of its nasally-delivered monoclonal antibody.

Tiziana’s Foralumab was administered to people severely affected by COVID-19 and delivered a significant improvement in lung function as well as major reductions in Interleukin-6 and c-reactive protein, which are both indicative of inflammation.

Nasally-administered Foralumab is thought to work by improving the immune system by stimulating the body’s regulatory T cells.

Proactive news headlines:

Innovaderma PLC (LON:IDP) shares rose after Creightons PLC (LON:CRL) revealed that it made a preliminary approach on January 26. 2021 to the group’s board regarding a possible offer for the Skinny Tan maker. The manufacturers of personal care, beauty, and fragrance products said this bid approach was “unequivocally rejected by the Innovaderma Board on 29 January 2021 without affording Creightons the benefit of any further discussion.”

Tiziana Life Sciences PLC (NASDAQ:TLSA, LON:TILS) has delivered positive data from a clinical trial of its nasally-delivered monoclonal antibody in people severely affected by coronavirus (COVID-19). It said that in the groups receiving the spray, there was a significant improvement in lung function as well as major reductions in Interleukin-6 and c-reactive protein, which are both indicative of inflammation. Tiziana’s Foralumab was administered on its own and with dexamethasone, a corticosteroid, and the results were compared with a control group.

Sureserve Group Plc (LON:SUR), the compliance and energy services group, has said its performance in the year to the end of September 2020 was ahead of expectations. In its preliminary results statement, the group added that it has started the current year strongly. The board has proposed a doubling of the dividend to 1p. Profit before tax from continuing operations in the 12 months to September 30, 2020, leapt 45.9% to £7.8mln from £5.3mln a year earlier, while stripping out exceptional items and the amortisation of acquisition intangibles saw it rise to £9.4mln from £8.3mln the previous year. 

Gfinity PLC (LON:GFIN) said it delivered a “strong performance” in December, which has built upon previous profitability reported in October and November. In a trading update for the first half of its current financial year, the esports media group said as a result of its performance in December it was profitable for the final quarter of 2020 on an adjusted earnings (EBITDA) basis, while its cash position as of December 31, 20320, was £1.7mln, slightly ahead of the £1.6mln accrued by the end of June last year.

Oracle Power PLC (AIM:ORCP) said it has commenced a field-based exploration programme at the Jundee East gold project in the Eastern Goldfields region of Western Australia. The company will conduct three soil geochemical lines totalling approximately 240 samples in an east-west orientation, and undertake mobile metal ion sampling. Results from the field-based exploration programme will be interpreted alongside existing detailed 3D modelling of gravity-based response which demonstrated a strong degree of correlation of gravity response between that of the world-class Jundee gold mine and the project.

Custodian REIT PLC (LON:CREI) has raised its latest quarterly dividend by 19% as rental collections including deferrals totalled 96% in the three months to end-December 2020. The property investor said the higher dividend payout is fully covered by net cash receipts and reflected continuing levels of rent collection seen since the onset of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The value of Custodian’s portfolio rose to £545.8mln (£532.2mln end-September 2020) during the three month period, while NAV per share was 96.4p per share (95.2p).

Gaming Realms PLC (LON:GMR) said it has entered the Italian gaming markets through a collaboration with a number of top tier Italian gaming operators. The mobile gaming content specialist said its platform and portfolio have been certified for entry into the market by the L’Amministrazione Autonoma dei Monopoli di Stato (AAMS), Italy’s gambling regulator. Through SG Digital’s Open Gaming System (OGS) platform, Gaming Realms said its Slingo portfolio is now live in Italy with iGaming operators Goldbet and Sisal Group and will also be going live on the Lottomatica platform later in February.

Alien Metals Ltd (LON:UFO) said it has completed the final legal registration work related to the acquisition of the Nueva Andromeda permit, strategically contiguous to the company’s San Celso silver project in Zacatecas, Mexico. Detailed mapping and sampling will be carried out on Nueva Andromeda by the company’s newly appointed senior geologist in Mexico in coming days. A review of new projects presented to Alien for earn in or acquisition in copper and silver in the same region will also be undertaken.

Destiny Pharma PLC (LON:DEST) said it has appointed of Professor Mark Wilcox to its Scientific Advisory Board. The drug developer noted that Wilcox is a consultant microbiologist and Head of R&D in Microbiology at the Leeds Teaching Hospitals, he is also the lead on Clostridium difficile (C. difficile) infection for Public Health England.

In addition, Wilcox has advisory roles to UK SAGE (COVID-19), NHS England’s Infection Prevention & Control national team and Public Health England’s Rapid Review and is a member of the NHS Antimicrobial Resistance Programme Board. In a separate announcement, Destiny said its chief executive, Neil Clark, will be taking part in a panel discussion at the 7th Annual LSX World Congress to be held virtually at 3.00pm on Tuesday, February 2, 2020. The title is: Investing in Infectious Disease – How Will the Covid Pandemic Transform the Development, Commercialisation, And Partnering Landscape?

Cadogan Petroleum PLC (LON:CAD) has highlighted a 1.5% increase in annual output, with 2020 net production totalling 106,400 barrels. Moreover, this annual gain came despite the disruption caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and a five and a half month shutdown for the Blazhiv-3 and Blazhiv-Monastyrets-3 wells – which had licences expire, and subsequently renew in June.

Bacanora Lithium PLC (LON:BCN) said it has signed a new joint venture agreement with its cornerstone investor and offtake partner, Ganfeng Lithium Co Ltd. Ganfeng recently exercised its option to take its stake in the holding company which owns Bacanora’s Sonoara lithium project in Mexico from 22.5% to 50%. Completion of the joint venture remains conditional upon certain approvals and consents from authorities in the People’s Republic of China. 

BlueRock Diamonds PLC (LON:BRD), which owns and operates the Kareevlei diamond mine in the Kimberley region of South Africa, has said it is to release a resource upgrade report on Friday, February 5, 2021.  The statement is expected to include an upgrade of a material percentage of the resource from the inferred to the indicated category, as per the SAMREC code, and an increase in the size of the resource, the group added.

Next Fifteen Communications Group PLC (LON:NFC) has said that, further to the announcements of May 7, 2020, and November 11, 2020, it confirms that Penny Ladkin-Brand succeeds Richard Eyre as chair of its board and Robyn Perriss succeeds Ladkin-Brand as chair of the Audit Committee from February 1, 2021. Ladkin-Brand commented: “Next 15 is a fantastic business with exciting growth prospects. I am delighted to be moving into this new role and am looking forward to working more closely with the Next 15 businesses.” Richard Eyre added: “It is with confidence that I hand over to Penny after a thrilling time as Chairman of Next 15. The Company is in a good place and in very safe hands.”

Jersey Oil & Gas (AIM: JOG), an independent upstream oil and gas company ‎focused on the UK Continental Shelf region of the North Sea, has announced the availability of an updated corporate animation video, which illustrates its vision for resuming future production from the 100%-owned and operated Buchan oil field in addition to the wider Greater Buchan Area. The Buchan Oil Field – A New Beginning Corporate video is available to view on the company’s website at: This is accompanied by a corporate presentation which is also available to download on the company’s website at:

First Berlin Equity Research has published a research update on Diversified Gas & Oil PLC (LON:DGOC)). Analyst Simon Scholes reiterated his buy rating on the stock but decreased the price target from to 150p from 160p. The full report can be downloaded via the following link:

Edison Investment Research has issued a report on Shield Therapeutics PLC (LON:STX) entitled ‘Beefing up for the US opportunity’. The report can viewed via the following link:

BB Healthcare Trust PLC (LON:BBH) said its monthly factsheet for January 2021 is now available to view via the following link:

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