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Mereo Bio rises after signing licensing agreement with Oncologie Inc

A look at the day's major movers on Monday, 13 January

Richland Resources Ltd -

A global licensing agreement with Oncologie Inc had the share price of dual-listed Mereo BioPharma Group PLC (LON:MPH, NASDAQ:MREO) heading 4p higher to 37p.

The global license agreement is for the development and commercialisation of navicixizumab, Mereo’s candidate for the treatment of ovarian cancer.

The antibody is currently being evaluated in a Phase 1b study in combination with paclitaxel in patients with advanced heavily pretreated ovarian cancer.


2.30pm: Ergomed's acquisiton gets the thumbs-up 

Ergomed PLC (LON:ERGO) shares climbed 18p to 408p after the firm purchased US drug safety firm Ashfield Pharmacovigilance from UDG Healthcare PLC (LON:UDG) for US$10mln.

The AIM-listed pharmaceutical services firm will make Ashfield part of its PrimeVigilence division while also establishing a platform for a “broader Ergomed services business in the US”.

Ashfield will add more than 40 new clients to Ergomed’s roster as well as an order book on contracted revenues worth US$9.8mln. The acquisition is also expected to immediately enhance earnings.

1.45pm: Pennon wanted as it prepares to say good riddance to rubbish-burning arm

Pennon Group PLC (LON:PNN) shares rose 6.0% to 1,067.5p on reports that the water company is preparing to sell its Viridor waste management arm.

Investment bankers are understood to have been appointed to sell Viridor, which burns rubbish to generate energy, the Sunday Telegraph reported, “amid frenzied buyout interest”.

RBC Capital Markets reckons the Viridor business should be valued at about £3.5bn. “This implies a premium of ~12.5% on sale of the asset, which would be ~10% positive to Pennon’s share price, despite the fact that the share price has already performed strongly post the strategic review announcement in September,” the broker said.

12.45pm: Xeros put through the wringer again as it announces new chairman

Xeros Technology Group PLC (LON:XSG), one of the worst performers of 2019, slumped 6.1% to 1.005p on Monday after a change of chairman.

The developer and provider of water-saving and filtration technologies announced the appointment of Klaas de Boer as chairman. At the same time, David Armfield gave up the chair to become the senior independent director.

Shares in Xeros lost around nine-tenths of their value in 2019.

11.55am: Faron rebound continues

Faron Pharmaceuticals Oy (LON:FARN) continued its share price rebound, adding 3.7% at 282.5p, after positive news on a cancer drug trial.

The data monitoring committee overseeing the phase I/II trial of Faron’s cancer drug has approved an expansion of the study into late-stage colorectal cancer.

The MATINS assessment is currently gauging safety and tolerability as well as the efficacy of its Clevegen treatment in people with melanoma, pancreatic, ovarian and colorectal cancer.

11.15am: IndigoVision in the pink after trading update

Closed-circuit TV specialist IndigoVision Group plc (LON:IND) advanced 4.8% to 187p after it reported a 9% increase in revenues for 2019.

Gross margins were maintained in line with the prior year and with strong cost control, the company expects to report operating profit and underlying earnings (EBITDA) in line with market expectations, the company said.

Net cash in hand at the end of 2019 stood at US$2.0mln.

10.30am: Diaceutics raises profits guidance

Diaceutics PLC (LON:DXRX), which tests patients for precision medicines, shot up 14% to 116.5p after its year-end trading update.

The company said it made a strong finish to 2019 as a result of which revenue and adjusted underlying earnings (EBITDA) are expected to be ahead of market expectations.

Revenue is tipped to clock in at about £13.4mln, up from £10.4mln the year before, while EBITDA should exceed £2.1mln (2018: £1.5mln).

9.30am: Tiziana plunges after announcing plans to cancel its AIM listing

Tiziana Life Sciences PLC (NASDAQ:TLSA, LON:TILS) announced plans to cancel its AIM listing on Monday, sending the shares plunging 42% to 30p in early trading.

The biotechnology company, which is focused on the discovery and development of innovative therapeutics for inflammation and cancer indications, said it intends to re-domicile to Bermuda by the second quarter of this year.

The company's shares are also currently traded as American Depositary Receipts (ADRs) on NASDAQ but the company plans to drop the ADRs and have its Bermuda common shares traded on NASDAQ instead.

Meanwhile, with its shares having spiked last month, Richland Resources Ltd (LON:RLD) has taken advantage of the share price strength to issue shares and raise £150,000.

Richland's shares shot up last month from 0.09p to 0.36p on the back of the proposed sale of the Capricorn Sapphire Project, although the shares had ebbed to 0.15p by Friday's close.

The company is raising the money by placing shares at 0.1p a throw. Richland's shares fell 24% to 0.11p.

Proactive news headlines:

Verona Pharma PLC’s (LON:VRP, NASDAQ:VRNA) lead investigator for its phase IIb study of the firm's drug for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) has described the results from the trial as “impressive”. The nebulized ensifentrine treatment was being assessed in harness with a current established treatment called tiotropium, a long-acting anti-muscarinic, which relaxes and enlarges the airways in the lung. The combination had a “strong effect” on both bronchodilation (opening of the airways) and quality of life.

Anglo African Oil & Gas PLC (LON:AAOG) and Zenith Energy PLC (LON:ZEN) have agreed a ‘put and call’ option deal for Zenith to acquire a final 20% stake in the AAOG Congo subsidiary which holds a 56% interest in the Tilapia field. In December, Zenith agreed a deal to acquire 80% of AAOG Congo from AOOG, and, via the new option deal, it can take full ownership of the subsidiary subject to Tilapia’s production performance in the next year.

Faron Pharmaceuticals Oy (LON:FARN) (NASDAQ-FIRSTNORTH:FARON) said the data monitoring committee overseeing the phase I/II trial of its cancer drug has approved an expansion of the study into late-stage colorectal cancer. The MATINS assessment is currently gauging safety and tolerability as well as the efficacy of its Clevegen treatment in people with melanoma, pancreatic, ovarian and colorectal cancer. The drug, which can switch immune suppression to immune activation, will be administered in a low dose (0.3 milligrams per kilogram) in colorectal patients.

KRM22 PLC (LON:KRM) said it is “on track” to be profitable in 2020 following a strong uptick in revenues for 2019. In a trading update for the year ended 31 December, the risk management specialist said revenues for the period had risen to £4mln from £1.3mln and its adjusted underlying loss (EBITDA) will be “in line with expectations”

Instem PLC (LON:INS), the provider of information technology solutions to the life sciences market, saw strong organic revenue growth in 2019. Strong performance across the group's operations, combined with healthy new business pipelines, underpin management's confidence that the momentum achieved during 2019 will continue into the current year. The company revealed that revenues in 2019 were around 12% higher than in 2018 with underlying earnings (EBITDA) in line with management's expectations.

Remote Monitored Systems PLC's (LON:RMS) Cloudveil subsidiary has successfully completed testing of its unique mobile protective surveillance programme (MPSP) with a new client. The unnamed new client is a manufacturer and distributor of fast-moving consumer goods. The pilot scheme involved transporting a high-value cargo that was at serious risk from identified malicious threats across a continent at short notice.

Caledonia Mining Corporation Plc (LON:CMCL) (TSE:CAL) has produced a record 16,876 ounces of gold during the quarter ended 31 December 2019. In a statement, Caledonia’s chief executive Steve Curtis said that an improvement in the electricity supply and a rigid focus on grade control had helped boost production at the Blanket gold mine in Zimbabwe by 24% over the previous quarter, and by 13% compared to the corresponding quarter in 2018.

Base Resources Ltd (ASX:BSE) (LON:BSE) has issued revised production guidance for the Kwale mineral sands project in Kenya. In a statement, it said production of rutile is now expected to be between 75,000 and 81,000 tonnes, up from a previously forecast range of between 64,000 and 70,000. It said ilmenite and zircon guidance has also been boosted, as separation efficiency has improved following the transition from mining at the Central Dune to the South Dune.

NQ Minerals PLC (LON:NQMI) (OTCMKTS:NQMLF) generated A$15.5mln in revenue and gross profits of A$7.4mln during the fourth quarter of 2019. In a statement, the NEX-listed firm said base and precious metals production from the flagship Hellyer mine amounted to 8,160 tonnes of lead concentrate and 4,904 tonnes of zinc concentrate, while full-year revenues amounted to just under A$54mln.

Seeing Machines Limited LON:SEE) has announced a renewed supplier agreement with US chip firm Xilinx, which will supply the AIM-listed firm’s FOVIO Chip directly to automotive Tier 1 customers that are pre-approved by Seeing Machines The news came in a statement in which the advanced computer vision technology company said it will be exhibiting its FOVIO chip driver monitoring systems (DMS) technology at Automotive World in Tokyo, Japan's largest exhibition for advanced automotive technologies, on the Xilinx stand.

The City Pub Group PLC (LON:CPC) said difficult trading in December has prompted it to caution that it will miss the market’s profits expectations. Sales over 2019 rose by 31% to £59.8mln and by 1.7% like-for-like, but December was hit by the election uncertainty, higher wage costs, heavy rain and the impact of the strikes on South-West trains.

Feedback PLC (LON:FDBK) has entered a commercial partnership with tech firm Imaging Engineering (IE) to support the installation and refitting of fluoroscopy equipment across the US. Fluoroscopy is a type of medical scan where an X-ray is passed through the body continuously, allowing doctors to see real-time moving images of the inside of a patient.

Falcon Oil & Gas Ltd (LON:FOG, CVE:FO) told investors that the Kyalla 117 N2-1H well, at the Beetaloo shale project, will undergo sidetrack drilling after the well’s original horizontal section experienced operational challenges. The Australian shale well’s vertical section was completed in November, and, horizontal drilling subsequently began in early December. After 700 metres of an intended 1,000-metre section, drilling challenges were encountered affecting the maintenance of clean hole conditions and stability in certain sections.

Sound Energy PLC (LON:SOU) has extended negotiations over the gas sales agreement for the Tendrara gas project in eastern Morocco, with a new deadline of 31 March 2020. It comes as the company continues to move Tendrara towards a Final Investment Decision. The company is working on a ‘build-own-operate-transfer’ funding solution for the infrastructure development that will support Tendrara, it noted.

Polarean Imaging PLC (LON:POLX), the medical imaging technology company, with a proprietary magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) drug-device combination, said it received notification on 10 January 2020 that Tyndall Investment Management now holds 4,917,016 ordinary shares in Polarean, which represents 4.3% of the company's issued share capital.

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