Oncimmune climbs on contract news but Ormonde Mining slumps as deal collapses

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Oncimmune Holdings PLC (LON:ONC) is on the move after it announced two substantial new contracts with drug giant Roche Pharmaceuticals and the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

The agreements are for an infectious disease panel that helps predict the severity of COVID-19 along with the potential effectiveness of vaccines and other drugs used to treat it.

The technology was developed with UK government backing and is based around Oncimmune’s SeroTag system.

Chief executive Dr Adam M Hill said:  “As the world shifts its focus to recovering from the pandemic, we are seeing continued interest in Oncimmune’s infectious disease offering. Today’s announcement is further validation of the importance of our Infectious Disease panel in supporting both clinical research and the development of vaccines and therapeutics.”

The news has sent its shares 6.26% or 11.9p higher to 201.9p.

But Ormonde Mining PLC (LON:ORM) has slumped after a planned acquisition came to nothing.

It had agreed to take a majority stake in copper mining licences in the Republic of Congo back in September. But following delays in completing the deal (COVID-19, election in the country) and after its latest annual meeting, it is no longer authorised to issue the amount of shares to complete the transaction, without specific shareholder approval.

This apparently created increased uncertainty and risk for the sellers, who wanted better terms to go ahead with the deal. Ormonde said no, a compromise could not be reached, and the discussions were terminated.

Ormonde said the deal would have been transformative, and admitted the need for shareholder approval might limit further similar deals. It will now also explore alternative strategies.

Executive chair Jonathan Henry said: “The proposed transaction, which Ormonde has spent considerable time and effort in trying to complete, was an exceptional opportunity for the company.  Regrettably, the company has been unable to finalise binding terms agreeable to all parties and we therefore have had no choice but to concentrate our resources elsewhere.  Management is now working with the board to review a number of other transactions for the business or alternative strategies, which could deliver shareholder value and reward our shareholders for the patience shown to date.”

Ormonde’s shares have dropped 12,86% or 0.18p to 1.22p.

2.34pm: Healthcare group links up with high street chemist

MyHealthChecked PLC(LON: MHC) has jumped 32.29% or 1.55p to 6.35p after signing a deal to launch its COVID-19 tests at Boots UK.

The healthcare company will supply its at-home nasal swab kit and laboratory testing service to Boots online and alsos to 507 of its stores.

The testing kit allows customers to take a nasal swab themselves at home and send samples safely and securely via the Royal Mail Tracked 24 service to be tested at the Manchester-based laboratories of MyHealthChecked and Yourgene Health PLC (AIM: YGEN) and results are provided within 24-48 hours, via an online portal.

The agreement has an initial term of 12 months from 6 April 2021.

The company said the agreement was likely to lead to substantial revenue growth in the current year. It has also entered into an exclusive agreement with Yourgene to act as its exclusive external provider of testing services.

Penny McCormick, chief executive officer of MyHealthChecked, said: “We are delighted to finalise this agreement with Boots which offers their customers a gold standard lab-based PCR testing service for COVID-19 with a sample collection kit that can be used at home. As the nation anticipates a potential ability to travel this year with less restrictions, we may see accurate COVID-19 PCR testing becoming a travel essential, and we have ensured a good capacity level to respond to market demand. A further area for customer consideration is the discomfort that can be involved with nasopharyngeal or throat swabs.  Our service resolves this by using a gentle nasal swab that doesn’t compromise the accuracy of the test, providing a more comfortable customer experience”.

12.21pm: Energy company lifted by Egyptian progress

Energy company United Oil and Gas PLC (LON:UOG) is in demand after a couple of positive updates.

Its shares have risen 7.29% or 0.35p to 5.15p after it said there had been a good outcome in its drilling of the ASD-1X exploration well in the Abu Sennan concession in Egypt, where it owns a 22% working interest.

Brian Larkin, the chief executive officer of United Oil and Gas. said: “Today’s announcement is another positive result from Abu Sennan, which, initial interpretations suggest, is in line with our pre-drill estimates. With the well testing set to begin shortly, we look forward to understanding the full potential of the ASD-1X well.”

The company also has a 20% economic interest in the Selva natural gas field concession in Northern Italy, which has been given environmental approval. Another partner, Prospex Energy PLC (LON:PXEN) has also benefited from the Italian news (see earlier).

In The Style (LON:ITS) investors are in the money.

The e-commerce fashion brand is up 3.23% or 7.3p at 233.3p after it announced a collaboration with TV personality Stacey Solomon, one of the largest it has signed during its seven-year history.

The company is hoping to benefit from Solomon’s social media and television presence. She has 4.1mln Instagram followers, 1.5mln on Twitter and the same on TikTok, as well as being a regular on ITV’s daytime TV show Loose Women.

Under the terms of the deal, she will collaborate with In The Style to design, develop and market clothing and accessories collections, with the first set launching on 27 April 2021.

9.40am: Power group boosted by gas news

Prospex Energy PLC (LON:PXEN) is on the rise following positive news on an Italian gas project.

The power business said the Selva Malvezzi Gas-Field in the north of the country, where it holds a 17% stake in the licence, has received full environmental approval, paving the way for a full production permit to be granted.

Prospex non-executive chairman Bill Smith said, “Gas production at Selva promises to transform Prospex Energy’s financial profile and with this in mind the granting of full environmental approval for the development of the field is a key milestone for the company.”

The news has lifted its shares 5.23% or 0.085p to 1.71p.

There has been another surge in Oilex Ltd (LON:OEX) after the company came closer to settling a dispute over an Indian gas project which it has been trying to control for more than four years. Its shares are up 47.46% or 0.14p at 0.44p.

8.30am: Water group welcomes US spending plans

Water Intelligence PLC (LON:WATR) is getting a Biden boost.

The company’s shares have added 3.61% or 21.75p to 624.25p after it spelled out the benefits of the President’s recently announced infrastructure plan.

It owns the American Leak Detection business so reckons it is well placed to benefit from a proposed US$11bn investment into replacing aging water pipes – especially lead ones – and treatment plants.

It said ALD was the only nationwide provider of precision leak detection and repair solutions reaching over 200,000 homes annually including in rural America. It plans to accelerate its proposed growth plans, including looked at acquisition opportunites with respect to UK and EU water product companies seeking to gain access to the US market.

Executive chairman Dr. Patrick DeSouza said: “[We can] explore corporate opportunities to capture the increased market demand for water infrastructure solutions; demand which will likely continue for the next decade, accelerated by the Biden Plan’s proposed investment.

Ilika PLC (LON:IKA) is also sparking higher.

The solid state battery specialist is up 6.75% or 13.5p at 213.5p on news that it was collaborating with Comau, part of the Fiat Group. The partnership is designed to scale up Ilika‘s existing pre-pilot line for its Goliath large format batteries for electric vehicles and consumer electronics, and deliver a plant design for a large scale manufacturing facility.

The design study is being supported by the Advanced Propulsion Centre and Ilika will receive a £235,000 grant towards its related costs over the 12-month project.

Graeme Purdy, Ilika chief executive, said: “This project is an important step in the scale up of our Goliath technology and represents an exciting opportunity to work with Comau, one of the world’s leading designers of innovative engineering solutions.”

Proactive news headlines

Oncimmune Holdings PLC (LON:ONC) has landed two substantial new contracts for an infectious disease panel that can help predict the severity of COVID-19 along with the potential effectiveness of vaccines and other drugs used to treat it.

Alien Metals Ltd (LON:UFO) said it was encouraged by the results of a surface mapping and sampling programme carried out on its newly acquired Nueva Andromeda permit, strategically contiguous to the San Celso silver project in Zacatecas State, Mexico.

Fintech firm Cornerstone FS PLC (LON:CSFS) joined the AIM segment of the London Stock Exchange after raising £2.7mln.

Sativa Wellness Group Inc (LON:SWEL) said it is now listed on the UK government’s website to offer two and eight-day coronavirus (COVID-19) quarantine tests for travellers returning to the UK.

IQ-AI Ltd (LON:IQAI) said its subsidiary, Imaging Biometrics (IB), has received another grant award from the US National Cancer Institute (NCI). The company said the award, the third NCI grant IB has received within the last two years, is for around US$3mln in funding and will begin on April 15.

Gore Street Energy Storage Fund PLC (LON:GSF) is looking to raise funds in a placing and retail offer to help fund its development pipeline of 1.3 gigawatts and accelerating development of its existing portfolio. 

Caledonia Mining Corporation PLC (LON:CMCL, NYSE:CMCL) lifted its quarterly dividend for the fifth time in 18 months and said it is confident of making further increases based on its outlook . It also brought its Central Shaft at the Blanket mine into operation.

88 Energy Ltd (LON:88E) said the results from the Merlin-1 well were encouraging for the potential at Project Peregrine, in the NPR-A region of the North Slope of Alaska, but operational issues dogged initial drilling.

Rosslyn Data Technologies PLC (LON:RDT) said its chief executive, Roger Bullen, is stepping down from the board with immediate effect but will remain available to the company for the next six months to provide transition assistance.

Zoetic International PLC (LON:ZOE) said its novel food application for its cannabidiol (CBD) products has passed a Food Standards Agency (FSA) administrative check carried out across the industry.

Oriole Resources PLC (LON: ORR) said it acquired a controlling stake in local holding company Reservoir Minerals Cameroon Sarl (RMC) for its early-stage exploration licences in Cameroon.

United Oil and Gas  PLC (LON:UOG) has achieved a positive outcome in its drilling of the ASD-1X exploration well in the Abu Sennan concession in Egypt. In a separate announcement, the company said  the Italian government has given environmental approval for the development of the Selva natural gas field concession in Northern Italy, in which United Oil and Gas owns a 20% economic interest.

US Oil & Gas Plc (USOP) announced it has submitted Notices of Staking (NoS) to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to drill three wells on the West Play of its acreage in Hot Creek Valley, Nevada.

Pantheon Resources PLC (LON:PIP) said it started flow testing at the Talitha #A well on Alaska’s North Slope after delays caused by blizzards.

Argentex Group PLC (LON:AGFX), the foreign currency specialist, said revenues are near to pre-pandemic levels after bouncing back in the second half of the year to end March 2021.

Ncondezi Energy Ltd (LON:NCCL) said commissioning of its solar power project in Mozambique is on track to meet its revised June 2021 target and that a previously announced bridging loan is close to being finalised.

Zanaga Iron Ore Company (LON: ZIOC) said the re-costing exercise of Stage One of the Zanaga iron ore development project is being completed and is expected to be concluded around the middle of this month.

ZAIM Credit Systems PLC (LON:ZAIM) said its subsidiary Zaim Express LLC has entered into a loan agreement for an additional 50mln Russian roubles (£0.5mln) with a duration of 1.5 years and an annual interest rate of 15% payable monthly.

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