Good gains seen in the markets last week with the FTSE closing the week some 120 points higher at 6,270, whilst the AIM All share closed largely where it opened at 740 points, having seen a mid week dip and recovery. Better than expected data came from the US, with US durable goods orders rising by 4.6 per cent and new home sales across 2012 reaching a three year high (though December sales fell 7.3 per cent month on month). Good news also came from China, where manufacturing activity was said to have reached a two year high, with the PMI having risen by 0.4 points in December to 51.9. News in the UK was less positive, with the economy shrinking by 0.3 per cent in the last quarter suggesting the possibility of slipping back into recession with a so called triple dip. The week ahead sees UK consumer confidence and manufacturing data being announced.
AAU Red Rabbit Update, AVAP Purchase of new aircraft, BHR Resource Upgrade, BZT Copper-Gold Argentina, BLUR trading update, CLL acquisition of Mash Health, CEN mapping and sampling results, CIN Interim Statement, DCP Development Commences, FTC Interim results, FIF pre-close trading statement, FITB £500,000 loan, FIP portfolio company news, GTC Trading update, HAIK trading update, HGV Trading update, IKA Completion of Laboratory Facility Expansion, IVO £1.5m investment in Semetric, JDG trading statement, LPA Final Results, MWA Freda Rebecca Pilot Plant, RENE trial update, SCLP Update on SCIB1 clinical trial, New contract and acquisition, SEGR Pre-close of finals, SOG Trading update, SUN FDA approval, TMMG trading update, VAL Appointment of Medical Monitoring Officer and VAL201 update
Ariana Resources (LON:AAU)
Ariana Resources, the gold exploration and development Company focused on Turkey, has reported further development progress at the Kiziltepe Sector of the Red Rabbit Gold Project in Western Turkey, ahead of mine construction targeted in Q4 2013. A decree of the Ministerial Council in Turkey has removed the Kiziltepe Sector site from an area previously affected by the requirements of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, thus allowing Ariana to proceed with the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). EIA project summary documentation will now be submitted to the Ministry of Environment and Urban Planning, which will initiate the formal process for the permitting of the mine.
The aircraft rental and leasing company announced the purchase of an A320-200 which it had previously leased from another aircraft leasing company, taking the Company’s fleet to a total of nineteen commercial passenger aircraft. The acquisition was made using the Company’s existing financial resources, and the Company will continue to lease the aircraft to a major Australian regional airline for four years. At the end of last year, Avation announced that it had taken delivery of its tenth new ATR 72 aircraft, with a number of similar delivery announcements over the last year.
Beacon Hill Resources (LON:BHR)
Beacon Hill Resources, which is focused on building a portfolio of near-term production projects in commodities relating to the steel industry, has announced a 31 per cent increase in its JORC compliant coal resource for the Minas Moatize coking coal mine in Tete, Mozambique. The results of the infill drilling programme undertaken in 2012 have resulted in the JORC compliant resource at Minas Moatize being upgraded to 86.8mt (previously 66.4mt) including a 15.4 per cent increase in higher confidence Measured and Indicated resources. The resource update was undertaken by Golder Associates (NZ) Ltd and incorporated the results of the infill drilling programme that was undertaken in the second quarter of 2012 to prove previously unclassified tonnes in the Upper and Middle Chipanga seams. The additional data obtained from the infill drilling programme was combined with the existing drilling database and was validated to be suitable for modelling purposes. All geological modelling was completed on an in situ raw coal basis to produce a geological model suitable for classification and reporting of coal resources in accordance with the JORC Code.
Bezant Resources (LON:BZT)
Bezant, the gold and copper exploration and development Company operating in the Philippines and Argentina, announced that further to its release of 29 November 2012, the Company is still awaiting final approvals from the provincial authorities in respect of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for its wholly owned Eureka Project, in the province of Jujuy, north-west Argentina. EIA approval will ensure that the project's existing licences meet all the relevant criteria for exploration under local and federal law and enable Bezant to proceed with the next phase of its initial exploration work programme. The authority’s approvals process in the Jujuy Province is anticipated to resume shortly, following the recent summer recess, and a further update will be provided in due course.
blur (Group) (LON:BLUR)
Recently AIM listed technology company confirmed that financial results for the year will be in line with market expectations, delivering year-on-year revenue growth of over 200 per cent. Philip Letts, CEO of blur Group commented: “We are delighted to have concluded our first reporting period as a publicly listed business in such a positive manner. We are now keenly focused on continued execution and believe that we are well on our way to building a world-beating services commerce (s-commerce) platform.”
Cello Group (LON:CLL)
The insight and strategic marketing group announced the acquisition of Mash Health Limited and Mash Health, Inc (Mash). Initial consideration is approximately £0.6m, with further performance related consideration of up to a maximum of £0.9m. Mash specialises in providing consultancy and communications services to pharmaceutical, nutraceutical and consumer healthcare clients. Core clients include Reckitt Benckiser, GSK, BMS, Bayer, J&J and Danone. Mash will join Cello's healthcare division, Cello Health, and will further complement Cello Health's insight, advisory and evidence based capabilities in the ethical pharmaceutical area, with enhanced expertise in the consumer health area. This is consistent with Cello Health's aim of becoming a leading global health services company. For the year to 31 March 2012, Mash had an unaudited turnover of £1.5m, gross profits of £1.1m and profits before tax of £0.1m. Net assets as at 31 March 2012 were £0.3m, including cash of £0.2m.
Centurion Resources (LON:CEN)
Natural resource company focussed primarily on the exploration and development of copper assets in Austria announced significant copper (Cu) results from a preliminary mapping and sampling programme at its wholly owned 33 sq km Mitterberg Copper Exploration Licences in Salzburg, Austria. The Project includes the previously producing Mitterberg Copper Project and has a current estimated exploration target of 11.0Mt to 11.7Mt at a grade range from 1.0 per cent Cu to 1.15 per cent Cu. A total of 40 grab samples, each averaging 1kg, were collected from four dumps located adjacent to previously producing adits: Josefi-Oberbaustollen; Mariahilfstollen, Josefi-Unterbaustollen and Johann-Barbarastollen. The highest grades were located at the Mariahilfstollen adit with assays MB-B12, MB-B8 and MB-B1 returning grades of 7.08 per cent, 5.11 per cent and 4.1 per cent respectively. The Company is currently undertaking a desktop study of the Project, results of which will be reported at the appropriate time.
City Of London Group (LON:CIN)
The Company announced its Interim Management Statement covering the period from 1 October 2012. The Company’s Trade Finance Partners division is achieving strong growth and good levels of profitability. Credit Asset Management Limited (CAML) was selected as sole leasing provider to date to support the Government's Business Finance Partnership Initiative and BIS funds are expected to be available for investment by CAML in February/March 2013 and the platform is expected to achieve break-even within the first half of 2013/14. The third segment of the business, Therium, has completed a first closing of a new Jersey fund and subscriptions currently stand at £3.4m. The final close is expected before the financial year end. Legal investment results are taking longer to come through than expected, though good progress has been made in raising other funds.
Diamond Corp (LON:DCP)
DiamondCorp, the Southern African diamond development and exploration company, announced that development activities have commenced for the 47 level block cave at the Lace mine, following receipt of the first US$3m (£1.9m) tranche of loan funds from Laurelton Diamonds, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Tiffany & Co. The second US$3m tranche is scheduled to be paid on 10 April 2013. The combination of funding through the Tiffany loan, £4.2m of convertible bonds (issued in December 2012) and R220m (£15.6m) from the Industrial Development Corporation of South Africa (as announced on 21 September 2012) completes the R320m (£23m) Lace project financing package.
Filtronic, the designer and manufacturer of microwave electronics products for the wireless telecoms infrastructure market, announced interim results for the 6 months to 30 November 2012. The Company saw a 56 per cent increase in revenues to £16.4m (H1 2012: £10.5m) and a narrowing of the pre-tax losses to £1.01m (H1 2012: loss of £1.44m). Of the two key areas of the business, wireless saw growth of 129 per cent in revenue to £11.9m (H1 2012: £5.2m), largely as a result of the growth seen in the US 4G/LTE market, with a number of network roll-outs starting to pick up speed. Broadband sales on the other hand fell to £4.5m (H1 2012: £5.3m), with legacy sales to Ceragon Networks falling away, having made a good contribution in the prior year. Looking ahead, the wireless business has received orders in excess of £14m for the supply of large quantities of LTE/4G interference mitigation filters, expected to be largely completed by the middle of 2013, whilst management believes Broadband is unlikely to see any significant growth in the short term.
Finsbury Food Group (LON:FIF)
A leading manufacturer of cake, bread and gluten free bakery goods, last week provided an update on trading for the first half of the current financial year, ended 29th December 2012, prior to entering its close period. Total Group sales revenues increased to £103.3m, versus £102m in the prior year period, in line with management expectations for the period. The UK Cake business grew 2 per cent, £1.1m, broadly in line with the market whilst as forecast. Lightbody Europe, the Group’s 50 per cent owned joint venture business, declined by £1.6m or 17 per cent due to adverse exchange rate movements. The Group’s Bread and Free From division continued to deliver strong growth, an increase of £1.8m or 7 per cent versus the prior year, to give total sales of £27.4m for the period. This is an encouraging continuation of the division’s long term performance trend. Consumers remain under considerable financial pressure and continue to be value conscious and deal focused. Key ingredients such as sugar, egg and flour are also inflationary as are more general costs such as energy. Finsbury’s focus on internal efficiency improvements as well as sales growth and recovery of commodity inflation via pricing has been successful in slightly improving first half operating margins although they remain low. The Group remains confident of continuing to achieve growth and efficiency opportunities across its businesses and is trading comfortably in line with profit and debt reduction expectations.
Fitbug Holdings (LON:FITB)*
AIM listed provider of online personal health and well-being services announced that it has agreed the terms of a £500,000 loan with Kifin Limited, a Kirsh Group subsidiary. The loan is repayable by 31 July 2014 and will accrue interest at a rate of 5 per cent per annum, payable on a quarterly basis. If during the term of the loan Fitbug undertakes an equity issue, the loan holder can elect to convert some or the entire Loan into new ordinary shares in Fitbug. Fergus Kee, Executive Chairman, said: "Following the interest shown in Fitbug's connected health product range at this month's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, and the launch of three new products, this Loan, on attractive terms, provides additional funds to capitalise on the Connected Health market, which is particularly buoyant in North America."
Fusion IP (LON:FIP)*
AIM listed university IP commercialisation Company that turns world class research into business has recently announced news on behalf of its portfolio companies. Asalus, it announced, recruited a new Chairman and raised a further £1.25m. The funds will be used to complete the manufacture and CE marking of its Ultravision technology, prior to its planned launch in the second half of 2013. As part of the funding round Mr. David Frederick has assumed the role of non-executive Chairman. David has over 17 years of medical device sales, marketing, business development and general management experience and was previously Vice President of Sales at Covidien. As a result of the funding Fusion owns a 44 per cent undiluted shareholding in Asalus. Asalus Medical Instruments, it was announced, also successfully completed its 'first-in-man' trial of its lead product, Ultravision(TM) , the Company's revolutionary surgical smoke clearing system for use in laparoscopic surgery. Also, announcing news, Zilico, one of Fusion’s University of Sheffield portfolio companies, said that a study into the accuracy of detection of high-grade cervical intraepithelial neoplasia using electrical impedance spectroscopy with colposcopy has been published in the latest issue of BJOG: an International Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology. Fusion holds a 6.8 per cent shareholding in Zilico.
GETECH Group (LON:GTC)
Getech, the oil services business specialising in the provision of exploration data and petroleum systems studies and evaluations, provided a trading update for the five months to December 2012, during which the Company announced a number of major contracts including five further Globe sponsors and two substantial sales of its global gravity and magnetic data sets. This reflects the overall strong period of contract wins for the Company, and with strong anticipated synergies between sales of Globe and sales of other products and services, the Company expects to exceed current market expectations for the year to 31 July 2013.
HaiKe Chemical Group (LON:HAIK)
The AIM quoted petrochemical, specialty chemical and biochemical business based in China, provided an update on trading ahead of its final results for the year ended 31 December 2012. The market for refined oil products changed significantly in 2012. A sluggish economy and weakened demand presented difficult challenges for domestic refineries across China. While trading began positively in H2, a deterioration in market conditions significantly impacted trading in the last quarter, particularly in December, and as a result the Company will report a loss for the year. Other factors which affected performance included tighter margins, lower utilisation rates in the refinery division, and negative contribution from Hebang in its first year in operation. To mitigate the effects of the broader market changes, the Company has enhanced its sales and marketing efforts in refined oil products, which has helped HaiKe achieve record high group turnover. The growth in trading of oil products has also been a major contributing factor to the increase in turnover. HaiKe's gross margin halved in 2012 when compared with that in 2011. Financial costs grew significantly as a result of increased working capital needs on the back of higher turnover. The Company anticipates the refined product pricing mechanism to ease in the near term. The current 22-day reference period is expected to be shortened and the Chinese Government will intervene less in relation to price adjustments. The change in the pricing mechanism will be favourable to HaiKe as the refined product price will react more quickly to the feedstock price, thereby reducing the operating risk of the refineries. In line with its strategy, the Company continues to make good progress in developing niche speciality chemical products to generate higher margins.
Hasgrove, the digital and communication services group, expects to report gross income in the region of £19.1m and underlying pre-tax profit of approximately £1.5m for 2012, which is in line with market expectations. Amaze, the full-service marketing and technology company, continues to perform strongly. Its experience in working with marketing, technical and e-commerce teams within large organisations has helped deliver a number of new client wins during 2012, further enhancing its global presence with brands such as ASICS. Interact, the intelligent intranet software provider, has benefitted significantly from its entry into the US market in early 2012. This, together with increased enterprise sales in Europe and Australia has complemented its already strong UK base. Interact continues to invest in both product development and its sales and marketing infrastructure. The Chase, the Company’s creative and design agency, had a challenging year but a number of new business wins towards the end of the year are encouraging. Hasgrove’s operating units continued to be cash generative, resulting in net debt reducing from £1.5m at the end of2011 to £0.1m at the end of 2012 after the payment of earn-outs (£0.7m) and the buy-back of shares (£0.2m).
Ilika, the advanced cleantech materials Company, has completed a 200m2 expansion of its facility in Southampton. The expansion has been undertaken to facilitate further growth across the Company and to fulfill three principal goals. Half of the expansion is associated with Ilika's solid-state battery technology. The infrastructure and equipment will support Ilika's activities producing prototype electrochemical cells and batteries during the next phase of its development programme, which is starting in the first quarter of 2013. The second aim of the expansion has been to create additional capacity for the testing of materials generated from Ilika's joint development programmes. A number of new, high throughput techniques have been deployed for the rapid characterisation of the physical properties of the materials which Ilika jointly develops with its commercial partners. This additional capacity underpins Ilika's ability to increase revenues in 2013/14. Finally, the new facilities are also accommodating the high throughput polymer equipment relocated from its divested Sheffield facility. This equipment is currently deployed in joint development programmes spanning a number of sectors, including breakthrough applications for composite materials in the electronics sector. Despite the expansion of the main facilities in Southampton, cost savings associated with discontinuing temporary lab facilities in Southampton and the disposal of the Company's Sheffield operations mean that total facility overheads are now expected to be marginally lower year-on-year.
Imperial Innovations Group (LON:IVO)
A leading technology commercialisation and investment group has invested £1.5m in Semetric, the technology firm behind global music analytics specialist, Musicmetric. The investment is part of a £3m funding round which also includes existing investor Pentech Ventures LLP, a venture capital fund focused on technology businesses. Semetric's software platform aggregates and analyses data from thousands of online sources. Musicmetric, the first of Semetric's products to be launched, has risen to prominence through its work supporting insight and analysis across the global music industry. Customers already include EMI and MTV. Musicmetric enables record labels and music marketers to analyse, benchmark and compare artist performance, aggregating online data alongside conventional sales information. Real-time data analysis allows the impact of marketing activities to be tracked against consumption, discussion or mentions of artists' music. Semetric's platform can be applied to other media verticals including television, film and video games. The current market for analytics in these areas and music totals around $3bn annually.
Judges Scientific (LON:JDG 1,065p/£56.59m)
The Directors of Judges gave an update on the Group's trading performance in respect of the financial year ended 31 December 2012. The year concluded positively with the Group maintaining momentum in sales, profits and cash flow. The Board expects that adjusted earnings per share for 2012 will achieve the market's expectations with a good measure of comfort. The financial position at the year-end is robust and reflects an active year that witnessed two acquisitions and a £3.0m placing. The Group's order book at 31 December 2012 represents almost eleven weeks' sales; this is higher than at the previous year-end but the figure is flattered by the inclusion, for the first time, of Global Digital Systems Limited, which tends to have a longer order book. The Board believes that global economic conditions are somewhat less turbulent than at the outset of 2012 and are hopeful that Judges will continue to display its resilience in 2013 with another year of progress.
LPA Group, the LED lighting and electro-mechanical engineering group, announced more than doubled profits for the year ended 30 September 2012, a £0.8m contract for LPA Transport+, and a further £0.5m of contracts for Aircraft Ground Power Supply units (crocodiles) for Heathrow, all with delivery commencing this year. Sales were up 5.9 per cent to £18.4m (2011: £17.3m) and profit before taxation more than doubled to £877,000 (2011: £400,000) with the final dividend increased by 20 per cent to 0.60p (2011: 0.50p), giving a total for the year 1.10p (2011: 0.90p) Peter Pollock, Chief Executive, commented: "The last year vastly exceeded both expectations and our medium term growth plan, due to a benign confluence of balanced factory load and exceptional short term orders received during the year and requiring delivery before the year end. After a strong start to the current financial year activity levels have eased back in line with current expectations for the year as a whole, and some near term regular business has been disrupted by the delays in the Rail re-franchising process. However our LPA Transport+ turnkey service business has just circumvented that challenge by winning a £0.8m London Underground related contract. The Group, in particular its LED based lighting business, has many exciting prospects from which we hope to benefit. "
Mwana, the multi-commodity mining and development Company with principal activities in Zimbabwe, the DRC and South Africa, has announced progress on the evaluation of the economic potential of its tailings storage facilities and the commencement of construction of a pilot plant at Freda Rebecca Gold Mine in Zimbabwe. Freda Rebecca has been in production since 1988. During that time significant tailings have been deposited over three main storage facilities within the mine lease area. A non-compliant indication of the available tonnage contained within the targeted North and South tailings facilities is estimated at 13.5mt. During 2012 project work was initiated to evaluate the economic potential of these tailings dumps and assay results together with basic bottle roll test work gave sufficiently encouraging results to embark on a full metallurgical test program. Based on the results of the test work, construction of a pilot plant at Freda Rebecca to validate the laboratory test work has commenced. The pilot plant will be used to gather representative data and to conduct variability test work at a level which will determine optimum operating conditions and design parameters for any potential future larger scale facility. The pilot plant is targeted for commissioning in Q3 2013.
ReNeuron Group (LON:RENE)
ReNeuron Group today provided an update on progress with the PISCES clinical trial of its ReN001 stem cell therapy for disabled stroke patients. In this open label, dose-ranging Phase I safety study, taking place in Scotland, ReNeuron’s ReN001 stem cell therapy is being administered in ascending doses to a total of 12 stroke patients who have been left disabled by an ischaemic stroke, the most common form of the condition. The Company reported that the independent Data Safety Monitoring Board (DSMB) for the study has reviewed the three month follow-up data on the penultimate dose cohort and has cleared the study to proceed to dosing of the final dose cohort of three patients. Subsequently, and as planned, the first patient in this final dose cohort has been treated with ReN001 and discharged from hospital. The PISCES study continues to run to plan, with no cell-related adverse events reported in any of the patients treated to date. Subject to DSMB approval and as previously announced, the remaining two patients are scheduled to be treated in March of this year. As previously announced, the Company has submitted an application to the UK regulatory authority to commence a multi-site Phase II clinical trial to examine the efficacy of ReN001 in patients disabled by an ischaemic stroke. This trial is designed to recruit from a well-defined population of patients between two and four months after their stroke, which the Company and its clinical collaborators currently believe will be the optimum treatment window for the therapy. The Company is continuing its interactions with the regulatory authority and will give a further progress update shortly. In line with the Company’s expectations, the regulator has confirmed that three month follow-up data on the final dose cohort in the PISCES study will be required as a pre-requisite for commencement of a Phase II study. On this basis, and subject to continuing positive progress with the PISCES study and the necessary regulatory and ethical approvals, the Company is continuing its preparations to commence the Phase II stroke study, on schedule, in the middle part of this year.
Scancell Holdings (LON:SCLP)
Scancell Holdings, the developer of therapeutic cancer vaccines, has announced the recruitment and treatment of the final patient in the second part of its Phase I/II clinical trial of SCIB1, its DNA ImmunoBody(R) vaccine being developed for the treatment of melanoma. This part of the trial is being conducted in five UK centres in patients with Stage III/IV disease to further assess the safety of treatment and to assess the cellular immune response induced by SCIB1. Patients are being treated with a 4mg dose of SCIB1 on five occasions over a period of six months. In December 2012, Scancell released preliminary evidence from Part I of the study showing that SCIB1 produced an immune response which might be associated with clinical benefit in patients with malignant melanoma. The Company expects the results for Part II of the study to be available by the end of 2013.
Service Power Technologies (LON:SVR)
AIM listed market leader in field management made a number of announcements last week. First, a contract expansion to provide Assurant Solutions, the leading specialty insurer, and its customers enhanced access to third-party repair and installation services under a new three-year agreement valued at $714,000. Assurant Solutions purchased a license to use and resell ServiceOperations back in 2011- software that allows the Company and its clients to manage or dispatch work to third-party service providers and manage claims payments to them. Assurant also entered into a revenue share contract for ServicePower's new field management software. Secondly, the Company announced the acquisition of Stratix Corporation's Software Division and its Field Service Mobile software, and announced that as consideration for the acquisition 10,504,025 new ordinary shares of 1 penny each in the share capital of the Company have been issued and allotted. The Stratix Field Service software features work order assignments, including customer information, notes, status updates, native navigation and signature capture, parts integration, service history, asset verification, labour codes and pricing, automated time tracking, and customer data collection.
Specialist Energy Group (LON:SEGR)
Specialist Energy Group, the engineering group whose main operating business is Hayward Tyler Group Limited, announced that Hayward Tyler ended the year with an order intake of £34.5m for 2012, a near 10 per cent increase over 2011. The Directors also reported a strong second half performance with a significant improvement on H1 profit before tax, as a result of the steps taken during 2012 to improve operational efficiencies, strengthen the balance sheet, reduce net debt and expand market penetration. Consequently the Company has performed in line with management expectations for the full year at both the revenue and profit before tax levels (for the underlying business). Fully diluted earnings per share are expected to be ahead of current expectations.
AIM listed provider of portfolio analysis and asset pricing services for the global asset management industry, announced a trading update for the year ended December 2012. Trading was in line with expectations, with StatPro Revolution trebling recurring revenue to $2.5m (annualised) compared to $0.7m in 2011. The number of fund administrator parties also grew significantly, more than doubling from 10 to 21, bringing important business to the Company. The placing in November 2012, which raised £5.8m helped improve the net cash position at the year end slightly to £3.7m (2011: £3.4m). The Company believes that its focus on cloud technology has positioned it well as technology trends evolve towards it.
Surgical Innovations Group (LON:SUN)
Surgical Innovations Group, the designer and manufacturer of creative solutions for minimally invasive surgery (MIS), announced that it has received 510(k) clearance from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its Reusable 3mm PretzelFlex(TM) device. This clearance permits the use of the 3mm PretzelFlex(TM) in the US market for organ and tissue retraction. The device is easily inserted through a 3mm laparoscopic port and when deployed, forms the unique pretzel shape by way of patented segment technology. The 3mm PretzelFlex(TM) device combines strength and stability within a significantly reduced profile to support organ retraction through a smaller port incision, which makes it a particularly useful tool in minimally invasive paediatric surgery.
The Mission Marketing Group (LON:TMMG)
The national marketing communications and advertising group issued a trading update for the year ended 31 December 2012. The Company said that despite the challenging background it expects to achieve market expectations and the objectives that it set itself at the start of the year. In so doing it believes that it will show further progress in terms of revenue, profit and debt reduction, with similar H1/H2 revenue split as in the previous year. The strategy to continuously enhance its client offering within existing agencies whilst introducing new and exciting skills through well managed acquisitions has been maintained with the purchase of both Addiction and Balloon Dog in the latter part of 2012. Whilst affecting the margin short term, both ventures have further strengthened the Group and are expected to build upon the policy of close cooperation between their agencies in the future. 2012 saw the agencies further strengthen their Client portfolios and recent gains from outstanding Client companies such as Brittany Ferries, M&S Bank, Aviva and Harley-Davidson should hold the Company in good stead as they move forward into 2013. As mentioned in previous statements, the strong reduction in debt levels since the restructure in 2010 provides the Board with greater flexibility from cash resources and will allow them to continue to review opportunities and group enhancing initiatives in order to accelerate growth in the future. Providing that progress is being maintained the Board expect to confirm the intention to return to dividend payments at the time of the interim results.
ValiRx, a life science company in clinical development with anti-cancer diagnostics and therapeutics for personalised medicine, announced the appointment of Dr Alan Boyd as Medical Monitoring Officer for the clinical development of VAL201. Among his responsibilities, Dr Boyd will oversee the medical aspects of the clinical trials and development of VAL201, including input into the final protocol and interaction with the regulatory agencies, medical oversight on patient recruitment and follow up activity from the Company’s perspective. Dr Boyd is an acknowledged pharmaceutical physician with over 30 years of expertise in clinical drug development. He has worked for GlaxoSmithKline plc (LON:GSK 1,419p/£69,568.53m) and Ark Therapeutics Group plc (LON:AKT 1.27p/£2.66m) and currently holds non-executive directorships in several biotechnology companies. He is also currently a Chairman of the Specialist Advisory Committee in Pharmaceutical medicine at the Royal College of Physicians, UK. As previously announced, the Company is also pleased to have earlier appointed Professor Hilary Calvert as clinical advisor for the development of VAL201. He is a leading figure in anti-cancer development internationally and has received several life-time awards for his anti-cancer drug development work. He was appointed Director of Cancer Drug Discovery and Development at the UCL Cancer Institute and in the past month, Professor Calvert has also taken over as Chair of the New Agents Committee at Cancer Research UK. Scale-up activity and the manufacture of sufficient amounts of clinical grade compound for the initial VAL201 clinical trials has been completed. The protocols that have been developed for the trials are being refined and agreed. Furthermore, the Company has completed its identification and targeting of potential patient populations. VAL201 has shown efficacy in prostate, breast and ovarian cancer models as well as addressing endometriosis and is progressing through its clinical development, as expected.
*A corporate client of Hybridan LLP
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