SalvaRx Group PLC (LON:SALV) shares plummeted 11.4% to 40.2p in late-afternoon trading after it said iOx Therapeutics Limited, in which it holds a 57% stake, had experienced “significant delays” in the manufacturing of its lead drug IMM60.
The AIM-listed biotech firm said due to quality failures in the manufacturing process, a batch of the drug had failed and thus iOx was revising its timeline to dosing its first human in clinical trials.
The company added that it was confident that the process was robust and the programme would move forward in due course, however release of the product was now expected to be in late 2019.
Meanwhile, in the risers, FTSE 100 pharma group GlaxoSmithKline plc (LON:GSK) saw its shares tick up 1.1% to 1,568p after a report from the Financial Times at the weekend said it was considering breaking-up its businesses following investor pressure to spin-off its consumer division.
The newspaper said GSK’s chairman Philip Hampton has been in discussions with the group’s biggest shareholders about the creation of a standalone pharma and vaccines company in the medium term. The move could happen within two or three years, the report added.
One of the company’s top ten shareholders, whom the FT did not name, acknowledged having conversations with the GSK chairman, adding that shareholders “don’t quite believe in the company.”
Elsewhere, shares in Amur Minerals Corporation (LON:AMC) shot up 10.5% to 4.1p after it said it had entered into a Memorandum of Cooperation with GEFCO LLC, a global expert in supply-chain solutions with a strong presence in Russia, and is 75% owned by JSC Russian Railways.
This MOC will address Amur’s rail and shipping transport requirements for the construction of the Kun-Manie nickel project in Russia’s far east.
It will encompass operational supply support and saleable product delivery to the Asian markets of China, Japan and Korea foremost among international opportunities.
1.00pm: Keras Resources jumps as it secures permission for bulk sampling testwork in Togo
Keras Resources PLC (LON:KRS) saw its shares jump 15% to 0.4p in lunchtime trading after it secured permission to undertake a bulk sampling metallurgical testwork programme at the Nayega manganese project in northern Togo.
The AIM-listed minerals firm said the testing, estimated to cost around US$1.5mln, would include the processing of 10,000 tonnes of beneficiated manganese ore, by a major producer of manganese-based alloys, for large scale metallurgical testwork, to assess the suitability of the ore in their manganese smelting facilities.
It generated some £4.3mln in the first six months, from £3mln in the comparative period last year and ended the half year with £2.3mln of cash.
The company told investors it now expected interim results, due September 3, will show a higher pre-tax profit.
Elsewhere, Cabot Energy PLC (LON:CAB) shares were up 1.9% at 2.6p as it told investors that its new executive management team is confident there will be an improved performance, through its planned 2019 work programme.
Scott Aitken was appointed as the new Cabot chief executive in June, and, in the subsequent weeks, has met with operations teams in the UK, Italy and Canada.
Jefferies cut its rating on the stock to ‘underweight’ from ‘hold’ with a target price of 1,650p as it analysed the company’s latest results and the impact of UK Financial Conduct Authority’s proposed measures for investment platforms.
11.00am: Carclo rises as it extends deadline for takeover talks with Consort Medical
The plastics products supplier said under the new deadline, Consort will have until 5pm on 13 August 2018 to submit a firm offer for the group.
Carclo rejected a previous takeover offer from Consort at the beginning of July, but had entered into discussions following a revised proposal that was submitted on 13 July.
Meanwhile, in the fallers, Ascential (LON:ASCL), formerly known as EMAP, fell 4% to 440.6p after it posted a slight dip in earnings for the first half due to lower margins as it restructures the business to focus on digital.
The events and market research company said adjusted underlying earnings (EBITDA) from continuing operations came to £60.4mln in six months to the end of June, compared to £60.8mln a year ago.
Margins reduced to 32.0% from 36.8% last year due to the integration of recently acquired e-commerce analytics provider Clavis Insight and investments in the launch of the Money20/20 financial services event in Asia and changes to the Cannes Lions festival for creative communications and advertising.
Elsewhere, shares in McColl’s Retail Group PLC (LON:MCLS) plunged 12.3% to 184p after it warned that annual profits are unlikely to show any growth this time around as it continues to recover from the collapse of Palmer & Harvey at the end of 2017.
P&H was one of the biggest suppliers to UK supermarkets but ran out of cash in November, leaving the 700 or so McColl’s stores which it supplied low on stock.
The poor weather didn’t help either, with many Brits refusing to venture out while the ‘Beast from the East’ battered the UK earlier this year.
9.30am: FastForward Innovations jumps as it injects US$6mln into investee company for 25% fundraising discount
The AIM-listed investment firm said the funds would be granted a 25% discount to the conversion price of shares in the next round of fundraising by Factom, the terms of which are yet to be announced.
The company added that it also had retained a right to invest an additional US$9mln on the same terms no later than 30 September 2018.
The funds themselves would be used to expand Factom’s US engineering team in addition to building a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platform to scale customer growth and accelerating a roadmap to deliver more product features and increase revenues.
Elsewhere, Kromek Group PLC (LON:KMK) shares were up 4.8% at 29.2p after it was awarded two new contracts from the US’s Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA), an agency of the Department of Defense.
The AIM-listed radiation detection firm said the two contracts, aimed at developing next generation radiation detection solutions for security and national defence, would generate revenue in the current financial year and are worth a combined minimum of US$2.6mln to be delivered over the next three years, with a potential two-year extension to US$3.3mln.
Meanwhile, shares in Instem PLC (LON:INS) jumped 5.4% to 310p after the developer of software used by the life sciences industry to collate and transmit data said first-half trading was in line with market expectations.
The highlight was the performance of its SEND product, with the value of contracts won thus far in 2018 exceeding the total for all of last year.
In all, it had 103 orders in the first six months from 50 different clients.
Instem said the contracted value of SEND-related new business was up 190% year-on-year, while the pipeline continues to grow, driven by the US Food & Drug Administration’s investigational new drug rules.
On the other side of the market, a key faller was Ryanair Holdings PLC (LON:RYA), whose shares dropped 5.6% to 14.6p after it warned that it expects strikes by pilots and cabin crew to continue during the peak summer period as it reported a 20% drop in first quarter profits.
The budget airline said it was “not prepared to concede to unreasonable demands” by unions across Europe that will “compromise either our low fares or our highly efficient model”.
Irish-based pilots held two strikes in July and have threatened a third for Tuesday in a dispute with Ryanair over pay and conditions. The industrial action has resulted in hundreds of flight cancellations.
Other Proactive news headlines:
Midatech Pharma PLC (LON:MTPH) said its US arm has signed a deal that gives it the exclusive right to promote a cancer care product in the US. It has inked a co-promotion agreement with Bausch Health Companies for NeutraSal to oncology customers in the US.
SDX Energy Inc (LON:SDX) has announced another new discovery at the South Disouq project, in Egypt. The SD-3X well was drilled down to a depth of 7,842 feet and it encountered 32.6 metres of net conventional natural gas pay, in the Abu Madi and Kafr el Sheik horizons.
Cabot Energy PLC (LON:CAB) told investors that its new executive management team is confident there will be an improved performance, through its planned 2019 work programme. Scott Aitken was appointed as the new Cabot chief executive in June, and, in the subsequent weeks has met with operations teams in the UK, Italy and Canada.
Amur Minerals Corporation (LON:AMC) has entered into a Memorandum of Cooperation with GEFCO LLC, a global expert in supply-chain solutions with a strong presence in Russia, being 75%-owned by JSC Russian Railways.
Galileo Resources PLC (LON:GLR) will start a second drill progamme at the Star Zinc project in Zambia after an independent review of historical gravity geophysics data matched well with its own results. Colin Bird, chief executive, said there was good correlation with known zinc mineralisation at Star Zinc.
Shefa Yamim ATM (LON:SEFA) has appointed PPM, a South African project management and engineering company to provide working and capital cost estimates for bringing the Kishon Mid-Reach alluvial precious stones deposit into production.
Rosslyn Data Technologies PLC (LON:RDT), a leading global big data technology company, has announced that James Appleby will be joining its board as a non-executive director with immediate effect. He will be replacing Ed Stacey, who has been on the board since the IPO in April 2014.