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Proactive news headlines: RedX Pharma, genedrive, Futura Medical, Open Orphan

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

Redx Pharma PLC (LON:REDX) more than doubled in value on Tuesday as it said it has agreed a licensing deal for a novel fibrosis treatment with pharma giant AstraZeneca PLC (LON:AZN). The FTSE 100-listed group will pay US$17mln for an exclusive licence to develop Redx’s RXC006, a porcupine inhibitor, for fibrotic diseases. If the drug makes it to market, Redx will receive up to a further US$360mln in development and commercial milestones, plus tiered royalties. The new drug will target diseases such as Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), where progressive scarring of the lungs (fibrosis) is usually fatal and the prognosis worse than many cancers.

Genedrive PLC (LON:GDR), the molecular diagnostics company, has entered into a collaboration with Beckman Coulter Life Sciences to speed up coronavirus (COVID-19) testing. The plan is to fully automate the entire laboratory polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing process for COVID-19. The two companies are working to combine and validate the Genedrive 96 SARS-CoV-2 Kit on the Biomek i7 automated workstation with saliva samples extracted using Beckman Coulter's RNAdvance viral extraction chemistry. Once validated, Beckman Coulter estimates that this new turnkey solution could process around 1,000 PCR samples per Biomek installed during a standard eight-hour working day, overseen by a lab technician for the equivalent of half a working day.

Immotion Group PLC (LON:IMMO, the immersive entertainment group, has said its largest installation to date opened for business on August 1 in Las Vegas. The 'Ocean Explorer Virtual Reality Theater' in the Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, is a 36-seat virtual reality (VR) theatre complete with a full immersive pre-show area. Historically, Shark Reef Aquarium has enjoyed more than 500,000 visitors a year who purchase the standard aquarium ticket package. As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, a timed-entry ticketing system has been introduced at Shark Reef to facilitate physical distancing but the aquarium is still pulling in around 1,000 visitors a day.

Futura Medical PLC (LON:FUM) said its technology used to deliver pain medication and sexual health treatments through the skin barrier is proving successful in the field of cannabidiol (CBD). It has just completed initial laboratory and optimisation work on a gel called CBD100 using its DermaSys discovery to carry the payload. The lab work on human epidermis demonstrated “highly efficient penetration of cannabidiol into and through the skin”. Futura has now started to explore commercialisation options for CBD100 with joint-venture partner CBDerma as stability work continues in parallel.

Open Orphan PLC (LON:ORPH) has followed its recent vaccines testing success with a clinical trial contract expected to deliver “significant revenue” over the next 12 months for its Venn Life Sciences business. Its team in Breda, in the Netherlands, will be working with client Carna Bioscience to oversee the first-in-human pharmacology study, providing expertise in areas such as pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics. In the same announcement, it was confirmed that Venn’s chemistry, manufacturing and control team, also based in Breda, had won a contract extension with an unnamed Dutch firm.

Applied Graphene Materials PLC (LON:AGM) has added a major distribution deal in Europe, following similar agreements covering the US and other regions in recent months. Under the distribution agreement signed with chemical distributor Arpadis Benelux, AGM’s Genable graphene dispersions technology will be introduced directly into Germany, Spain, France, Portugal and Scandinavia. 

Thor Mining PLC (LON:THR) (ASX:THR) has announced the appointment of Mark McGeough to its board as a non-executive director with immediate effect. McGeough has worked with a number of Australian Mining Companies, including Chinova Resources Pty Ltd (formerly Ivanhoe Australia) where he was General Manager - Geology, and Toro Energy Limited where, as General manager Exploration, he was responsible for teams exploring for uranium in Australia and Namibia. Prior to these roles, he worked as Manager - Geological Survey with the South Australian government department of Primary Industries and Resources, and with Mount Isa Mines, Xstrata Copper and Zinc. Mick Billing, Thor Mining executive chairman commented: "Mark has an outstanding background as a geologist and manager of people and processes, and has a wealth of experience with commodities which are a particular focus for Thor, including copper, gold, molybdenum, and uranium, and we are very pleased to add his strengths to our team."

Directa Plus PLC (LON:DCTA) has noted the opening on Monday, August 4 of the new Genoa San Giorgio Bridge in Genoa which was constructed using Iterchimica's Gipave asphalt supermodifier for its road pavement, which contains graphene and a specific type of technically-selected plastic which is usually sent to waste-to-energy plants. The new bridge, replacing the old Morandi Bridge structure that collapsed on August 14, 2018, was completed just 22 months after the disaster to designs by Genoa born Renzo Piano.  Gipave was developed by Iterchimica with the support of Directa Plus and resulted from a three-year research programme with a patent filed in 2017. To date, two trials have been initiated or completed in the UK in Oxfordshire and Kent and seven more were carried out at various sites in Italy.

Tiziana Life Sciences PLC (NASDDAQ:TLSA) (LON:TILS) said it has signed agreements with four contract research organisations (CROs) to expedite clinical development of COVID-19 treatment TZLS-501. The company said it intends to initiate the clinical study in the first quarter of 2021. TZLS-501 is a novel fully human mAb that binds to both the membrane-bound and soluble forms of IL-6R and rapidly depletes circulating levels of IL-6 in the blood. 

Union Jack Oil PLC (LON:UJO) has told investors that drilling is due to kick off in “the next few weeks” at the West Newton project, where an appraisal well will follow up last year’s successful discovery. The plan also includes the combined testing of the new well, West Newton B-1 (WNB-1), and the existing West Newton A-2 (WNA-2) discovery well. The base-case estimates for the project see some 146.4mln barrels of oil initially in place and 211.5bn cubic feet of gas, whilst the upside version anticipates 283mln barrels of oil and 265.9bn cubic feet of gas.

Keywords Studios PLC (LON:KWS), a provider of services to the video game industry, saw its organic revenue grow by 8% in the first half of 2020. In a trading update, the group said it expects to report first-half revenues of about €173.5mln, representing an increase of around 13% on the prior year’s €153.2mln, despite the disruption caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Adjusted underlying earnings (EBITDA) are expected to be in the region of €30.8mln, representing an increase of around 19% on the €25.8mln reported for the first half of last year. Adjusted profit before tax is expected to be around €21.7mln, up 18% or so from €18.4mln in the corresponding period of 2019.

Impax Environmental Markets PLC (LON:IEM), the sustainability-focused investment trust, said not having a stake in Tesla affected its relative performance over the past six months. The electric-car pioneer accounts for 11% of the FTSE Environmental 100 Index and jumped in value by 2.5 times (150%) over the half-year to June. Not having any stake in the carmaker meant IEM trailed the FTSE ET by 20% but it did better against its global comparator, the MSCI ACWI (-2.1%) even though a small/medium cap focus meant it was hit disproportionately hard by the volatility at the height of the coronavirus pandemic in April. Net asset value at end June was 310.9p against 321.8p at the end of December.

Ariana Resources PLC (LON:AAU) said it has revised its agreement with KEFI Minerals (LON:KEFI) and its subsidiary Dogu concerning the net smelter return (NSR) on the Kizilcukur project and an exploration database encompassing the Republic of Turkey. "Following the final due diligence completed on Dogu, Ariana and KEFI determined to proceed with the proposed transaction on slightly revised terms,” explained Dr Kerim Sener, managing director or Ariana in a statement. “Significantly, the originally proposed acquisition by Ariana of Dogu from KEFI is now no longer going to proceed. Instead, the 2% NSR existing on the Kizilcukur project will be cancelled and it is envisaged that Ariana will acquire, on a conditional basis, an additional NSR royalty of 2.5% on the Koza Gold-owned Yatik project.

Pelatro PLC (LON:PTRO), the customer engagement software specialist, is raising £2.1mln through a placing and subscription of shares at 47p each. The issue price equates to a 12.1% discount to the closing mid-market price of 53.5p on August 3, 2020. The proceeds will be used to strengthen the sales team in both existing emerging and new developed markets and for marketing at various industry conferences and events to broaden Pelatro's brand recognition and network.

NQ Minerals PLC (AQSE:NQMI) (OTCQB:NQMLF) (OTCQB:NQMIY) said it produced record levels of metals concentrate from its Hellyer Gold Mine in Tasmania, Australia during July. The new plant at Hellyer delivered throughput of 106,365 tonnes of ore, or 1.25mln tonnes annualised, to produce record monthly lead concentrate of 4,075 tonnes. It also produced 1,509 tonnes of zinc concentrate, 461 ounces of gold and 89,854 ounces of silver.

Chaarat Gold Holdings Ltd (LON:CGH) produced 26,960 ounces of gold equivalent from its Kapan mine in Armenia during the first half of 2020 and expects to produce 55,000 ounces of gold for the year. The company said it also took several steps to help alleviate the impact of coronavirus in its areas of operations in Armenia and Kyrgyzstan, including donating beds and equipment to the medical centre of Kapan, providing diagnostic kits and masks, and providing computers to school children. It has had its first case of the virus at Tulkubash in Kyrgyzstan, and is taking all possible precautions there.

ECR Minerals PLC (LON:ECR), the gold exploration and development company focused on Australia, said it has received notice to exercise warrants over 18,112,139 new ordinary shares in the company. Of this number, 10,612,139 new ordinary shares are being issued at 1.125p per share, and 7,500,000 new ordinary shares at 1p per share. Aggregate subscription monies of £194,386.56 have been received by ECR in respect of the exercise of these warrants.

IronRidge Resources Limited (LON:IRR) said it has allotted and issued 571,309 depositary interests of no par value each in the company Geodrill Limited, as partial satisfaction of invoiced costs to date associated with drilling at its projects in Cote d'Ivoire.

Curtis Banks Group PLC (LON:CBP), one of the UK's largest independent SIPP operators, said it will announce its full-year results for the six months ended June 30, 2020, on Thursday September 3, 2020. There will be a presentation at 9.30am for analysts that will be held virtually. Those wishing to attend should contact: [email protected]/

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