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Proactive news snapshot: Genedrive, Silence Therapeutics, Gfinity, SIMEC Atlantis Energy …

A glance at some of the day's highlights from the Proactive Investors newswire

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Your daily round-up from the world of Proactive

Genedrive PLC (LON:GDR) shares rocketed on Wednesday as the company said a clinically validated high throughput format for its coronavirus test could be available in “approximately eight weeks”. In a trading update, the diagnostics firm said following discussions with suppliers it believed it could “quickly” ramp up production of its 96 SARS-COV-2 test, which can determine whether someone is infected with coronavirus, to over 10,000 tests per hour, making the product “a material revenue generator for the company and significant contributor to addressing the global pandemic”.

Silence Therapeutics PLC (LON:SLN) should see its shares rip higher on Wednesday following news it has signed a deal with drugs major AstraZeneca worth US$80mln in cash and investment upfront, plus a further US$400mln in milestone payments and royalties for each disease area targeted. Using Silence’s small interfering RNA, or siRNA technology, AstraZeneca is looking to initially develop treatments for liver, heart and lung diseases. siRNA has been investigated as an effective treatment for viral diseases as well as cancer, the idea being it can block, or silence disease-causing genes. In a separate release, Silence also provided a research and development update in which it confirmed it would accelerate the development of SLN360, a potential treatment for cardiovascular disease.

Gfinity PLC (LON:GFIN) has signed a deal with in-game advertising group Bidstack Group PLC (LON:BIDS) and ad tech platform Venatus Media to generate additional revenue from its websites. The esports firm said, from April 1, Bidstack and Venatus will work together to sell advertising space on its RealSport101 and Gfinityesports platforms. This will include solutions such as programmatic advertising, bespoke video and audio-based promotions and brand site takeovers, which Gfinity said will “significantly” increase the opportunity for additional revenue.

Ergomed PLC (LON:ERGO) reported a 26% increase in revenue and confirmed an order book of £124.1mln as it reported full-year results on Wednesday, and it also updated on its involvement in coronavirus (COVID-19) research. The AIM-quoted firm is involved in a study at the Papa Giovanni XXIII Hospital in Bergamo, the epicentre of the virus in Italy, where the siltuximab antibody is being trialled in the treatment of patients with serious respiratory complications caused by COVID-19.

Edison Investment Research Limited initiated coverage on Ergomed in a note on Wednesday, valuing the group at £186mln or 399p per share. Its analysts said: “We believe it should prove relatively resilient during the COVID-19 crisis and has the fundamentals in place to execute its growth strategy.”

SIMEC Atlantis Energy Limited (LON:SAE) has been awarded a £1.545mln Scottish government grant that will help fund the subsea hub for the next phase of its tidal power array in the waters off the north coast of the country. The cash injection comes from the £10mln Saltire Tidal Energy Challenge Fund and will help deliver benefits that will be felt across the industry as the technology developed by Atlantis will be made available to other developers, the group said in a statement.

SigmaRoc PLC (LON:SRC) said it expects to report a strong performance from its businesses for the financial year ending 31 December 2019, exceeding analyst estimates. In a statement, the construction group said its revenues are expected to reach £70mln, a 71% increase on the previous year, while underlying operational profits (EBITDA) will hit £14mln, a 43% increase on the previous year.

Asiamet Resources Ltd (LON:ARS) shares rose in Wednesday morning deals as a Singapore-based commodities trader and investor Aeturnum Energy has become its largest shareholder, taking a 19.9% stake. Aeturnum and a small number of long term shareholders have subscribed for 373.39mln new shares, priced at 0.9p each, to raise £3.36mln for Asiamet. The funding strengthens Asiamet’s financial position amidst a highly challenging market environment, the company said in a statement.

Frontier IP Group PLC (LON:FIPP) has highlighted how the Intellectual property specialist’s portfolio companies are adapting to the coronavirus threat. Among them, Neil Crabb, Frontier's chief executive said The Vaccine Group is working on animal vaccines intended to prevent COVID-19 and related coronaviruses from re-emerging, or emerging, from animal populations to infect humans again - the so-called spill-over threat.

Power Metal Resources Plc (LON:POW) has updated investors amid the coronavirus uncertainty, noting the company’s “advantageous financial position”. In a statement, Power Metal chief executive Paul Johnson said that the company’s approach is to ensure it conducts business diligently, safeguarding existing business interests whilst remaining open to new opportunities that challenging circumstances can bring.

Synairgen PLC (LON:SNG) has taken advantage of a recent share price surge to raise up to £14mln to fund the trial of its interferon-beta treatment in coronavirus patients. The trial started on 50 patients at a hospital in Southampton this week and as well as providing cash for that, the money will also pay for the manufacture of the drug, SNG001.

RM Secured Direct Lending PLC (LON:RMDL), the closed-ended investment trust established to invest in a portfolio of secured debt instruments, has issued an update with regards to the ongoing market uncertainty relating to the coronavirus. It said its net asset value (NAV) as at February 29 was 98.74p per share. Updating for the ex-dividend effect of 1.7p per share and recent marks, gives an implied NAV of circa 87.44p per share as at the market close on March 19, the group said.

In a separate statement, RM Secured Direct Lending said that, following the request by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) it has been compelled to defer the publication of its results for the year ended 31 December 2019, which were due for release this week. The company said it anticipates announcing its full-year results in the week commencing 6 April 2020, subject to any further guidance from the FCA and the FRC to the contrary.

Red Rock Resources PLC (LON:RRR) is continuing to plan for a new stage of exploration on the Luanshimba licence in the Democratic Republic of Congo, in spite of the coronavirus crisis. To date, over 30 cases have been recorded in the DRC, with one death, with initial cases linked with arrivals from France and Belgium. Flights have been suspended and schools, bars and restaurants closed.

Echo Energy PLC (LON:ECHO) revealed it is seeking to defer cash interest payments on its debts through the remainder of 2020, as it continues to respond to challenging market conditions as the coronavirus pandemic grips the world “Echo is proactively managing its assets and cost base with a clear strategy in place to reduce costs and conserve existing cash,” Martin Hull, Echo chief executive said in a statement. “If fully implemented, these actions would lead to a sustainable and cash positive business in the current environment and position the company well for the future," he added.

Keywords Studios PLC (LON:KWS) has announced that, whilst it is in a position to announce the group's audited results for the year ended 31 December 2020, it has decided to delay their announcement, previously expected 31 March, in response to the guidance recently issued by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Financial Reporting Council due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic In an update, the group said it has cash and undrawn cash from its €100mln committed revolving credit facility of €82mln as at the end of December, and a further €40mln from an accordion credit facility.

ECSC Group PLC (LON:ECSC) said it's full-year 2019, underlying earnings (EBITDA) hit breakeven as revenues surged in its managed services business. In its results for the 12 months ended 31 December, the cybersecurity specialist said the flat EBITDA figure compared to a £600,000 loss in the prior year, while revenues rose by 10% to £5.9mln. In a separate announcement, ECSC also said it has appointed Gemma Basharan and Ian Castle to the board as its chief financial officer and chief technology officer, respectively.

Applied Graphene Materials PLC (LON:AGM) said its revenues this year have already exceeded the previous year by 20% as it reported interim results on Wednesday. The group said its revenues rose to £35,000 in the half-year to January and are up to £60,000 for the year-to-date. Its interim loss fell to £2.28mln from £2.37mln, while the company had cash of £4.3mln at the period-end.

Instem PLC (LON:INS), a leading provider of IT solutions to the global life sciences market, said it has decided to follow the guidance from the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and will not now announce preliminary results on 30 March 2020 but has reiterated its previous guidance. In a trading update it issued on 13 January 2020, subject to audit, the group said it expects to report 2019 revenues of approximately £25.7mln and adjusted underlying earnings (EBITDA) of approximately £4.9mln, with a 2019 year-end closing cash position of £6.0mln.

Ncondezi Energy Ltd (LON:NCCL) said the project financial model for the integrated Ncondezi coal-fired power plant in Tete, Mozambique, has now been finalised. Tariff submission remains on track for the first quarter of 2020, it said, with the Ncondezi power plant expected to generate 300 megawatts (MW) of electricity per year. Meanwhile, proposals to provide additional funding to cover working capital costs beyond the second quarter of 2020 are ongoing, the group added.

Bahamas Petroleum Company PLC (LON:BPC) has rescheduled its planned Perseverance-1 well to October 2020, from the previously anticipated timeline that saw the well spud in May/June. The company said the decision came as a result of the unprecedented impact of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. “Given the ever-evolving adverse impact of the response to the spread of the Covid-19 virus - which is changing daily and is affecting everyone and all enterprises, around the globe - it has become clear to us that if we continue to push forward with drilling in the first half of 2020, safe and responsible operations would be compromised,” Simon Potter, Bahamas' chief executive said in a statement.

Alien Metals Ltd (LON:UFO) said it is continuing discussions with a number of potential joint venture parties with regard to its portfolio of projects in Mexico and Australia during the coronavirus (COVID-219) pandemic. In a statement, the company said it is continuing to prioritise the health and safety of its employees, and no individuals either within or associated with the company are currently suffering from coronavirus. Meanwhile, it added, work continues across the company's operations.

Enteq Upstream PLC (LON:NTQ) said it appointed Neil Hartley as a new non-executive director. In a statement released after Tuesday’s close, the company noted that Hartley brings extensive senior private equity investor and non-executive director experience. He will chair the company’s remuneration and audit committees. At the same time, the group noted, Robin Pinchbeck has retired from its board. He has been a non-executive director of the company since 2011.

Polarean Imaging PLC (LON:POLX), a clinical-stage medical imaging technology company developing a proprietary magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) drug-device combination, said that, in light of the UK Government's latest announcements in response to the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak, it is no longer practical to hold its forthcoming General Meeting at the Reed Smith London office. The group added that the meeting will still proceed at 2.00pm BST, or 9am US local time, on the previously notified date of 1 April 2020 but will instead be held at the company's offices (2500 Meridian Parkway (Suite 175), Durham, NC 27713, USA) and that only the number of shareholders required for the meeting to be quorate should physically attend. The group said its board encourages shareholders who have not already done so to submit their votes by proxy rather than attend in person.

Angling Direct PLC (LON:ANG), the UK's largest and fastest-growing fishing tackle and equipment retailer, has announced the appointment of N+1 Singer as its nominated adviser and broker with immediate effect.

Faron Pharmaceuticals Oy (LON:FARN (NASDAQFIRSTNORTH:FARON), the clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company, said its Annual Report for the year 2019 has been published in English and its financial statements in Finnish on the company's website.

Impax Environmental Markets PLC (LON:IEM) said it has issued 400,000 ordinary shares at a price of 250.00p each, representing a premium to the prevailing net asset value, under the company's proposed new block listing.

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