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Genflow Bioscience  (GENF)  yesterday afternoon  announced two research grants totally  €2.9m to develop gene therapies that increase human life spans with better health. The three-year grants, subject to milestones,  support GENF’s quest to understand and alleviate the impact of ageing which is a growing market opportunity. As longevity gene therapy treatments are discovered they will become mainstream and will inevitably become an investment priority for Big Pharma and GENF should benefit. There are now four grant funded programmes underway. The most advanced is the SIRT6 gene being used in Non-Alcoholic SteatoHepatitis (NASH) a liver disease for which there are no approved therapies. NASH affects an estimated 35 million people globally and is one of the leading causes of liver cancer and liver transplants. The European Medicine Agency is currently providing program guidance and Human trials are anticipated early next year. GENF are debt free with cash reserves at the Interims to June of £1.5m (excluding grants) with an operating loss was £0.62m.

Comment: The shares improved from 1.65p to 2.3p and a £6.3m mkt as the four longevity treatment programmes underway have the potential to achieve value added milestones. There could be sufficient working capital to take the more advanced NASH program to human proof-of-concept stage which is a very significant value inflection point.

Audioboom (BOOM), the podcast company, announced a record number of Top 100 podcasts in the latest Triton Digital industry ranker. The company published 14 of the Top 100 shows in the US in December 2023. BOOM said the latest Triton US podcast ranker highlights how Audioboom is continuing to build its position as a leading podcast publisher. The Audioboom Creator Network drives strong distribution for our podcasts with its newest signing, Matt & Shane’s Secret Podcast, leading the way. It is focused on growing its network and is on track to move up the rankings in 2024.

Comment: BOOM continues its fundamental turnaround, adding to the stock doubling off recent lows, with the top of the pops update. Perhaps the only thing missing from today’s upbeat RNS is how the company manages to choose winning talent, such as Matt & Shane…?

Yellow Cake (YCA), a specialist company operating in the uranium sector holding physical uranium for the long term, announced it has been named to the 2024 OTCQX® Best 50, a ranking of top performing companies traded on the OTCQX Best Market last year. YCA said it was proud to have been named to the 2024 OTCQX® Best 50. It’s a sign of the considerable progress it has made and the value it has delivered on behalf of its shareholders since taking the decision to join the OTCQX market. Though it celebrated its nomination today it remains fully focused on the future.

Comment: Given that uranium is currently hotter than July, it is perhaps not that surprising that YCA is currently top of the pops on the OTCQX®. Of it is a shame that UK companies have to go to a Stateside listing in order to drive liquidity, but that is of course the regulators and the Government’s fault.

Rockfire Resources (ROCK), the base metal, gold, and critical mineral exploration company, is announced that ASX-listed Sunshine Metals Limited has received encouraging first pass drilling results from Lighthouse. Sunshine is farming into Rockfire’s Lighthouse tenement and has the option to earn a maximum 75% interest in the tenement by expenditure of AUD$2.2m over a 3-year period. ROCK said Sunshine is doing some sound exploration within the Lighthouse tenement and initial results of this calibre, particularly at Cardigan Dam are very encouraging.  Rockfire’s directors and management are looking forward to the next round of drilling at Lighthouse.

Comment: ROCK has, on the quiet, been one of the best mining exploration plays over the past year / 18 months, and this relatively performance looks set to continue off the back of news releases like today.

Versarien (VRS), the advanced materials engineering group, announced it has raised £400,000 by way of a placing of 500,000,000 new ordinary shares in the capital of the Company at a price of 0.08 pence per share. The company said in the short time since the Company Update announced on 20 December, the commercial, licencing and grant opportunities have continued to grow. This further funding will help it to progress the conversion of these leads while the asset sale discussions continue. It looks forward to updating the market in due course.

Comment: If VRS can raise 400K, either we are back in a bull market, or VRS is turning the corner. Perhaps even both…Rather like recent events at COPL, the share price performance this morning will reveal all.

Avacta Group (AVCT), a life sciences company, announced that Christina Coughlin, M.D., Ph.D. will take up the position of Head of Research and Development, overseeing all clinical development and pre-clinical research activities of the Therapeutics Division. AVCT said it was delighted that Chris will assume the full-time role of Head of Research and Development. Chris brings deep oncology research and development expertise combined with trans-Atlantic C-level experience from which the entire business will benefit as we evolve from a research organisation to one led by a strong clinical focus. The outstanding safety data from the AVA6000 clinical study that we recently presented validates the pre|CISION™ platform’s ability to deliver cancer drugs specifically to the tumour microenvironment.

Comment: Despite ongoing support from Fintwit royalty, shares of AVCT are back near the 100p range floor. One would presume that we are due a rebound.

Angus Energy (ANGS) announced that work in documenting the Company’s proposed £20 million Loan Facility and Offtake Agreements with Trafigura is progressing well and is expected to conclude with satisfaction of conditions precedent and drawdown within four weeks. The Company has been granted an extension to the existing £6m Subordinated Debt Facility, which is due to mature on 19th January 2024, in order to allow time for completing documentation and drawdown under the proposed facility with Trafigura.

Comment: One can understand why shares of ANGS remained on the back foot for so long given the funding need that loomed. Clearly, once the agreements with Trafigura are in place it will be transformational for the company.

Mustang Energy and Cykel AI announced that they have entered into a non-binding heads of terms for Mustang to acquire the entire issued share capital of Cykel (AQSE: CYK), on the basis of 1.844 new Mustang share for each Cykel share. This ratio has been calculated on the basis of a valuation of £1,000,000 of MUST, and a valuation of Cykel at c £19.22 million based on a ten day VWAP up to 7 November 2023, being the date of the non-binding head of terms.

Comment: It was suspected when CYK was suspended that good news was in the offing. We need several more of such deals on the London market to boost sentiment, especially where the time between a company listing and a subsequent deal being relatively short.

Prospex Energy (PXEN), the AIM quoted investment company focused on European gas and power projects, provided an operational update from the Podere Maiar-1 well site of the Selva field, which is operated by Po Valley Operations Pty Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of Po Valley Energy Limited. PXEN said it was working together with the Po Valley Energy team and using the production income to progress the necessary activities to secure the development drilling programmes for the contingent resources at Selva North and Selva South and, for the target of converting prospective resources at East Selva into proved, developed and producing reserves in the near term.

Comment: While the share price performance at PXEN remains mysteriously frustrating, it can be seen that PXEN continues to make significant operational progress. Presumably, the more the upside at  Selva becomes appreciates, the better the prospect of a fair re-rate for the stock.

N4 Pharma (N4P), the specialist pharmaceutical company, announced that the University of Queensland has informed the Company that it has been notified by its Indian patent attorney of the granting of its patent for Nuvec® in India. N4P said the granting of this patent is a further indication of the strength of the intellectual property we have licensed from the University of Queensland and we now have all of the major global territories with granted patents for Nuvec®.

Comment: While it has become something of a cliché that company seem to value the idea of adding IP value more than the market, it is clearly something which is fundamentally important, something we are being treated to at N4P currently.