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IP Group receives £80mln boost from Oxford Nanopore; Versarien inks virus face mask deal

IP has a near 16% share in the DNA sequencing group, which is working with health officials to roll out its LamPORE 90-minute tests that can detect coronavirus and flu

IP Group Plc -

Oxford Nanopore put an £80mln pep in the step of IP Group Plc (LON:IPO), an early-stage investor in some of the UK’s most innovative companies.

IP has a near 16% share in the DNA sequencing group, which is working with health officials to roll out its LamPORE 90-minute tests that can detect coronavirus and flu.

Under the terms of the deal, NHS labs will gain access to 450,000 of the Covid-19 units and potentially use its technology to screen frontline staff who are asymptomatic for the virus.

IP chief executive, Alan Aubrey, said: "The roll-out of LamPORE, the company's first diagnostic assay, is a significant development for Oxford Nanopore and in the battle against COVID-19 in the UK.

Proud

“We are proud that Oxford Nanopore has been supplying countries all over the world with sequencing capability throughout this pandemic to help support the response to the crisis."

The intellectual property specialist’s share price spiked 11.8% to 74.4p, adding £83mln its market value, which currently stands at £790mln.

Oxford Nanopore’s on-the-spot swab and DNA tests will help distinguish between Covid-19 and other seasonal illnesses, which health secretary Matt Hancock said this would be "hugely beneficial" over the winter.

Currently, a third of tests take longer than 24 hours to process.

The roll-out came as the government pushed back a July target to regularly test all care home staff and residents.

This is unlikely to be achieved until September because the number of testing kits had become more limited.

'Corona-boost'

Also benefiting from a ‘corona-boost’ was the advanced materials specialist Versarien PLC (LON:VRS).

Its shares rose 7% after it launched a graphene-enhanced protective face mask and said it had already received orders for 120,000 of its new protective gear.

Chief executive Neill Ricketts said: “We have taken great encouragement from the initial level of interest and are already in discussions with a number of other potential customers. Importantly, through our partner, we also have the capacity to fulfil much larger numbers of product orders going forward."

Quick facts: IP Group PLC

Price: 83 GBX

LSE:IPO
Market: LSE
Market Cap: £881.75 m
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