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#ORPH Open Orphan – Why scientists are deliberately infecting volunteers with Covid-19

If you are going to catch covid-19, jokes Jacob Hopkins, a university student, the safest place to do it is in a hospital. So in March Mr Hopkins lay down on a bed in the Royal Free Hospital in London while doctors placed droplets of liquid carrying the sars-cov-2 virus into his nose. Mr Hopkins was one of 36 participants in the first “human challenge trial” (hct) for covid-19.

Human trials are a valuable part of medical research. Studying sick people in the controlled environment of a lab allows scientists to collect valuable information about how diseases work much more quickly than relying on messy and uncertain data from the real world. Since the second world war, around 40,000 volunteers have allowed themselves to be infected with everything from malaria and typhoid to dengue fever and cholera.

Read the full Economist article here.

UK Investor Magazine Podcast discusses Next shares, Zenova IPO and an African growth story with Alan Green

This week’s UK Investor Magazine Podcast with Alan Green covers Next shares (LON:NXT), the Zenova Group (LON:ZED) IPO and an under appreciated African growth story in AirTel Africa (LON:AAF).

The FTSE 100 has suffered bouts of volatility over the last week as COVID cases rise globally and concerns about inflation persist. We question whether we could see more meaningful downside in markets in the third quarter and look at the potential buying opportunities in such a circumstance.

Next shares gave a boost to the FTSE 100 following a strong trading update that demonstrated the successful shift to online sales during the pandemic. With such bumper sales figures, it does raise the possibility it is simply a result of pent up demand that diminishes through the rest of 2021.

We discuss Zenova Group – which popped higher on its IPO – and what the future holds for the innovative fire protection company.

Finally there is attention paid to a very fairly priced African growth company that may have flown under the radar.

Open Orphan PLC #ORPH – NEJM Opinion Piece

The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) publishes editorial relating to Human Challenge Programme

Open Orphan (AIM: ORPH), a rapidly growing specialist clinical research organisation (CRO) and a world leader in vaccine and antiviral testing using human challenge clinical trials, confirms that an editorial opinion piece regarding the UK Government’s Human Challenge Programme has been published in the latest edition of the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM).

The piece, titled ‘Establishing the Model during an Evolving Pandemic’, explores the extensive preliminary review process which was commissioned by the UK Government and delivered by the coalition involved in the COVID-19 Human Challenge Programme to justify the research and manage and minimise the risks associated with the trial, as well as arguments supporting the inclusion of a SARS-CoV-2 human challenge research program as part of the pandemic response.

The Human Challenge Programme, part of the UK Government’s Vaccine Taskforce, is a collaboration between the UK Government, the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust, Imperial College London and hVIVO , a subsidiary of Open Orphan, to deliver the world’s first human challenge study for COVID-19.

In human challenge studies, a small number of healthy volunteers in a controlled setting are exposed to an infectious agent, in this instance, COVID-19, for scientists and clinicians to assess how effective vaccines or treatments are against the disease and identify any side effects.

The NEJM is recognised as the world’s leading medical journal and website. Published continuously for over 200 years, the NEJM delivers high-quality, peer-reviewed research and interactive clinical content to physicians, educators, researchers, and the global medical community. The publication’s mission is to publish the best research and information at the intersection of biomedical science and clinical practice and to present this information in understandable, clinically useful formats that inform health care practice and improve patient outcomes.

Cathal Friel, Executive Chairman of Open Orphan plc, commented: “We are delighted to see support for the COVID-19 Human Challenge Programme in a publication such as the New England Journal of Medicine. The piece articulates the considerable review process commissioned by the UK Government and delivered by hVIVO, in collaboration with the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust and Imperial College London. We believe the UK Government’s COVID-19 Human Challenge Programme will play a vital role in trialling the vaccines and antivirals which continue support our effective pandemic response in the UK and abroad. “

 

For further information please contact:

 

Open Orphan plc

+353 (0) 1 644 0007

Cathal Friel, Executive Chairman

Arden Partners plc (Nominated Adviser and Joint Broker)

  +44 (0) 20 7614 5900

John Llewellyn-Lloyd / Richard Johnson / Oscair McGrath

finnCap plc (Joint Broker)

+44 (0) 20 7220 0500

Geoff Nash / James Thompson/ Richard Chambers

Davy (Euronext Growth Adviser and Joint Broker)

+353 (0) 1 679 6363

Anthony Farrell

Walbrook PR (Financial PR & IR)

+44 (0)20 7933 8780 or openorphan@walbrookpr.com

Paul McManus / Louis Ashe-Jepson / Sam Allen

+44 (0)7980 541 893 / 07747 515 393 / 07502 558 258

Open Orphan #ORPH – World’s first Covid-19 human challenge study to expand

Open Orphan (AIM: ORPH), a rapidly growing specialist pharmaceutical services clinical research organisation (CRO) and world leader in vaccine and antiviral testing using human challenge clinical trials, announces that hVIVO, a subsidiary of Open Orphan plc, is continuing to work with the UK Government to inoculate up to 20 further volunteers as part of the world’s first COVID-19 characterisation study.

As part of the characterisation study, researchers aimed to identify a dose of COVID-19 that causes a safe and reliable infection in unvaccinated COVID-19 naïve volunteers. The UK Government has decided to expand the Human Challenge Programme to answer further questions that can help in the fight against COVID-19.

The study expansion will commence as soon as appropriate regulatory approvals and clinical preparations are complete. The study is funded by the UK Government who have commissioned Imperial College London to act as the clinical study sponsor. The study is conducted by hVIVO at the Royal Free Hospital, under the supervision of our highly trained scientists and medics.

The virus being used in the characterisation study has been produced under hVIVO’s supervision by a team at Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Foundation Trust in London, with support from virologists at Imperial College London.

The data from this study is already providing valuable insight into the biology of the virus which causes COVID-19. This knowledge will improve the ability to manage the virus and deliver a range of treatment options in the future.

The revenue from the contract is expected to be recognised in the current financial year.

Cathal Friel, Executive Chairman of Open Orphan, said: “At Open Orphan we are committed to helping the UK Government in partnership with two great institutions, Imperial College London and the Royal Free Hospital, to discover effective treatments for COVID-19. This study expansion further illustrates the effectiveness and importance of this study.”  

Dr Andrew Catchpole, Chief Scientific Officer of hVIVO, said: “We are delighted to announce this study expansion with the UK Government. This will enable 20 furthervolunteers to participate in this next phase of the world’s first study of its kind which will help scientists better understand and treat COVID-19.   

“Open Orphan, through its subsidiary hVIVO, is proud to be working with the UK Government’s Human Challenge Programme in this initiative to help control and minimise the spread of the virus and we will look to provide updates on the study with further announcements in due course.”

Caroline Clarke, Royal Free London group chief executive, said: “We are excited to enter this next phase of this study with our partners from hVIVO, Imperial College London and the government’s Vaccine Taskforce. Ultimately, we hope this research will give us more information about vaccines, as well as its impact on infection rates, and enable us to provide better treatments in the future for patients with COVID-19.”

The information contained within this announcement is deemed by the Company to constitute inside information as stipulated under the Market Abuse Regulations (EU) No. 596/2014 (as implemented into English law) (“MAR”). With the publication of this announcement via a Regulatory Information Service, this inside information is now considered to be in the public domain.

Interested in becoming a volunteer? 

hVIVO recruits many of its volunteers for its challenge study clinical trials through its dedicated volunteer recruitment website, www.flucamp.com. By volunteering to take part in one of our studies in a safe, controlled, clinical environment under expertly supervised conditions you are playing your part to further medical research and help increase the understanding of respiratory illnesses. 

Individuals interested in taking part in COVID-19 human challenge study research can learn more at www.UKCovidChallenge.com. 

For further information please contact:

 

Open Orphan plc

+353 (0) 1 644 0007

Cathal Friel, Executive Chairman

Arden Partners plc (Nominated Adviser and Joint Broker)

   +44 (0) 20 7614 5900

John Llewellyn-Lloyd / Richard Johnson / Oscair McGrath

finnCap plc (Joint Broker)

+44 (0) 20 7220 0500

Geoff Nash / James Thompson/ Richard Chambers

Davy (Euronext Growth Adviser and Joint Broker)

+353 (0) 1 679 6363

Anthony Farrell

Walbrook PR (Financial PR & IR)

+44 (0)20 7933 8780 or openorphan@walbrookpr.com

Paul McManus/ Sam Allen/ Louis Ashe-Jepson

+44 (0)7980 541 893 / +44 (0) 7502 558 258 / +44 (0) 7747 515393  

 

Notes to Editors

Open Orphan plc

Open Orphan plc (London and Euronext: ORPH) is a rapidly growing pharmaceutical service/contract research company that is a world leader in testing vaccines and antivirals using human challenge clinical trials. The company provides services to Big Pharma, biotech and government/public health organisations.

Open Orphan runs challenge studies in London from both its 19-bedroom Whitechapel quarantine clinic, opened in February 2021, and its 24-bedroom QMB clinic which also has a highly specialised virology and immunology laboratory on-site. Open Orphan has a leading portfolio of eight human challenge study models for conditions such as RSV, flu, asthma and COPD. In addition, Open Orphan is also developing the world’s first COVID-19 human challenge study model as part of the Human Challenge Programme and has signed a reservation contract with the UK Government for the first three COVID-19 vaccine challenge studies.

Building upon its many years of challenge studies and virology research, the Company is developing an in-depth database of infectious disease progression data. Based on the Company’s Disease in Motion® platform, this unique dataset includes clinical, immunological, virological and digital (wearable) biomarkers. The Disease in Motion platform has many potential applications across a wide variety of end users including big technology, wearables, pharma and biotech companies. Following COVID-19 there is now a renewed interest and investment in infectious diseases.

Open Orphan’s Paris office has been providing biometry, data management and statistics to its many European pharmaceutical clients for over 20 years. For over 15 years, the Company’s Netherlands office has been providing drug development consultancy and services, including CMC (chemistry, manufacturing and controls), PK and medical writing, to a broad range of European clients. Both offices are now also fully integrated with the London office and working on challenge study contracts as well as supporting third party trial contracts.

Cadence Minerals #KDNC – Notice of Annual General Meeting (AGM).

Cadence Minerals (AIM/AQX: KDNC; OTC: KDNCY) is pleased to confirm that it has posted the notice of the 2021 AGM and forms of proxy to registered shareholders. The AGM will be held at 11 am 4th August 2021 at the offices of Hill Dickinson LLP, The Broadgate Tower, 8th Floor, 20 Primrose Street, London, EC2A 2EW.

Please note that due to the current Covid-19 situation, arrangements for this year’s AGM are different from those of previous years. In keeping with health and safety advice, the meeting will be held with a Board quorate only. Consequently, we kindly request that shareholders do not attend the meeting in person. Please do not travel to the meeting, as you will be refused entry.

To ensure that shareholders can still participate in an orderly and safe AGM during the Covid-19 pandemic, this year’s meeting will be held via an electronic platform. The platform will permit shareholders to hear the meeting’s chairman and to submit questions on the resolutions and business of the meeting. AGM specific questions can be submitted via the platform during a 48-hour period from 11:00 am 2nd August 2021 and real-time during the AGM. Questions submitted via any other method than the platform will not be answered.

Whilst this year’s AGM structure utilises certain special pandemic-related discretionary powers, it remains wholly in accordance with KDNC’s articles of association and the Companies Act. It also fully complies with the Company’s Covid-19 policy and governmental Covid-19 safety advice.

Shareholders are therefore strongly encouraged to exercise their AGM voting rights by submitting the proxy form attached with the AGM notice. The deadline for submission of proxies to the Registrar is 11 a.m. on 2 August 2021 or 48 hours before any adjourned meeting. You are strongly advised to appoint the chairman of the meeting as your proxy to ensure your vote is counted.

The Circular and notice of AGM is available at: https://www.cadenceminerals.com/investors/aim-rule-26/.

The result of the AGM will be announced shortly after its conclusion and published on the Company’s website

– Ends –

 

For further information:

Cadence Minerals plc                                                    +44 (0) 7879 584153
Andrew Suckling
Kiran Morzaria
WH Ireland Limited (NOMAD & Broker)                                 +44 (0) 207 220 1666
James Joyce
James Sinclair-Ford
Novum Securities Limited (Joint Broker)                                 +44 (0) 207 399 9400
Jon Belliss

 

Qualified Person

Kiran Morzaria B.Eng. (ACSM), MBA, has reviewed and approved the information contained in this announcement. Kiran holds a Bachelor of Engineering (Industrial Geology) from the Camborne School of Mines and an MBA (Finance) from CASS Business School.

Forward-Looking Statements:

Certain statements in this announcement are or may be deemed to be forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements are identified by their use of terms and phrases such as ”believe” ”could” “should” ”envisage” ”estimate” ”intend” ”may” ”plan” ”will” or the negative of those variations or comparable expressions including references to assumptions. These forward-looking statements are not based on historical facts but rather on the Directors’ current expectations and assumptions regarding Cadence Minerals Plc’s future growth results of operations performance future capital and other expenditures (including the amount. nature and sources of funding thereof) competitive advantages business prospects and opportunities. Such forward-looking statements reflect the Directors’ current beliefs and assumptions and are based on information currently available to the Directors.  Many factors could cause actual results to differ materially from the results discussed in the forward-looking statements including risks associated with vulnerability to general economic and business conditions competition environmental and other regulatory changes actions by governmental authorities the availability of capital markets reliance on key personnel uninsured and underinsured losses and other factors many of which are beyond the control of Cadence Minerals Plc. Although any forward-looking statements contained in this announcement are based upon what the Directors believe to be reasonable assumptions. Cadence Minerals Plc cannot assure investors that actual results will be consistent with such forward-looking statements

Open Orphan #ORPH – Launch of Disease in Motion platform

Open Orphan (AIM: ORPH), a rapidly growing specialist pharmaceutical services clinical research organisation (CRO) and world leader in vaccine and antiviral testing using human challenge clinical trials , announces that hVIVO , a subsidiary of Open Orphan, has officially launched its Disease in Motion® platform. This unique data-focused platform includes clinical, immunological, virological and digital (wearable) biomarkers. The Disease in Motion platform has multiple infectious disease applications that are applicable to a wide variety of end users including big tech, wearables, pharma and biotech companies.  

hVIVO has been at the forefront of running human challenge studies for more than 20 years and has built up one of the most comprehensive, multi-parametric bio and databanks ever created for infectious diseases. This dataset from the Disease in Motion platform is continuously gathered throughout the onset, progression and resolution of an infection which is enabled by hVIVO’s challenge study model. The Company is committed to volunteer patient data privacy and data is only collected from fully consented volunteers in accordance with all relevant privacy guidelines.

For more information on the platform, please visit www.hvivo.com/DiseaseInMotion  

Cathal Friel, Executive Chairman said: The Disease in Motion platform includes data from cutting edge wearables that are applicable to a wide variety of end users including big tech, wearables, pharma and biotech companies. As volunteers remain under close observation prior to viral challenge, during disease progression and until resolution, data is captured across the full time-course of the infection, yielding possible insights into the body’s response to infection. The Disease in Motion platform currently spans several conditions with plans to expand this going forward.  

As a recognised global leader in supporting the development of therapeutics and vaccines, hVIVO and our team of virological, clinical and regulatory experts are actively in discussion with potential partners to help address the next set of challenges facing humanity.” 

Interested in becoming a volunteer?

hVIVO recruits many of its volunteers for its challenge study clinical trials through its dedicated volunteer recruitment website,  www.flucamp.com . By volunteering to take part in one of our studies in a safe, controlled, clinical environment under expertly supervised conditions you are playing your part to further medical research and help increase the understanding of respiratory illnesses.

Individuals interested in taking part in COVID-19 human challenge study research can learn more at www.UKCovidChallenge.com . 

For further information please contact:

Open Orphan #ORPH – COVID-19 Human Challenge Programme update

Open Orphan (AIM: ORPH), a rapidly growing specialist pharmaceutical services clinical research organisation (CRO) and world leader in vaccine and antiviral testing using human challenge clinical trials , announces an update in the world’s first COVID-19 characterisation study. Following Research Ethics Committee approval on 17 February 2021, hVIVO, a subsidiary of Open Orphan, began the study at the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust earlier this month.

The first three volunteers have now successfully completed the quarantine phase of their study participation with no safety concerns presented and have been discharged from the unit. The study will now progress to the next group of volunteers. The first three volunteers will continue their study participation with follow up visits and monitoring for a period of up to one year. As is normal practice during any clinical trial, none of the partners in the study will be identifying any of the volunteers.

The virus characterisation study will inoculate up to 90 volunteers, between the ages of 18 and 30 years old, to enable identification of the most appropriate dose of the virus needed to cause COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) infection in a safe and controlled environment. The study is funded by the UK Government and Imperial College London is the clinical study sponsor. The study is conducted by hVIVO at the Royal Free Hospital, under the scrutiny of highly trained scientists and medics. The virus being used in the characterisation study has been produced under hVIVO’s supervision by a team at Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Foundation Trust in London, with support from virologists at Imperial College London.

Individuals interested in taking part in this research can visit www.UKCovidChallenge.com to learn more.

Chief Scientific Officer at hVIVO, Dr Andrew Catchpole, said : “We are pleased to announce that the first three volunteers in this world’s first study have now successfully completed the quarantine phase, these volunteers will continue to be monitored post-study for up to 1 year. Throughout their stay at the Royal Free Hospital in London, the volunteers are closely monitored by our highly trained team of clinicians.

“We would like to thank these volunteers for their participation in this important study and look forward to welcoming the following cohorts. We expect that this study will greatly assist our understanding of this disease and provide insights into its progression, natural immune response, and transmission. We look forward to publishing the study’s results in due course and moving forward with vaccine challenge studies later this year.”

Dr Chris Chiu,  Chief Investigator and Reader in Infectious Disease at Imperial College London said: “We’re pleased to confirm the first group of three healthy volunteers has now successfully completed the first stage of the trial, with no unexpected issues. The volunteers are in good health. It would be premature to discuss further details at this early stage.”  

Group Chief Executive at the Royal Free London, Caroline Clarke, said:We are incredibly proud to be working with our partners from hVIVO, Imperial College London and the government’s Vaccine Taskforce on this important research. We’re delighted that the first stage of the study has been completed successfully and we look forward to continuing our close collaboration as this research moves forward.”

The information contained within this announcement is deemed by the Company to constitute inside information as stipulated under the Market Abuse Regulations (EU) No. 596/2014 (“MAR”). With the publication of this announcement via a Regulatory Information Service, this inside information is now considered to be in the public domain.

For further information please contact: 

Open Orphan plc

+353 (0) 1 644 0007

Cathal Friel, Executive Chairman

Arden Partners plc (Nominated Adviser and Joint Broker)

  +44 (0) 20 7614 5900

John Llewellyn-Lloyd / Benjamin Cryer / Dan Gee-Summons

finnCap plc (Joint Broker)

+44 (0) 20 7220 0500

Geoff Nash / James Thompson/ Richard Chambers

Davy (Euronext Growth Adviser and Joint Broker)

+353 (0) 1 679 6363

Anthony Farrell

Walbrook PR (Financial PR & IR)

+44 (0)20 7933 8780 or openorphan@walbrookpr.com

Anna Dunphy / Paul McManus

+44 (0)7876 741 001 / +44 (0)7980 541 893 

Notes to Editors

Open Orphan plc

Open Orphan plc (London and Euronext: ORPH) is a rapidly growing pharmaceutical service/contract research company that is a world leader in testing vaccines and antivirals using human challenge clinical trials. The company provides services to Big Pharma, biotech and government/public health organisations.

Open Orphan runs challenge studies in London from both its 19-bedroom Whitechapel quarantine clinic, opened in February 2021, and its 24-bedroom QMB clinic which also has a highly specialised virology and immunology laboratory on-site. Open Orphan has a leading portfolio of eight human challenge study models for conditions such as RSV, flu, asthma and COPD. In addition, Open Orphan is also developing the world’s first COVID-19 human challenge study model as part of the Human Challenge Programme and has signed a reservation contract with the UK Government for the first three COVID-19 vaccine challenge studies.

Building upon its many years of challenge studies and virology research, the Company is developing an in-depth database of infectious disease progression data. Based on the Company’s Disease in Motion® platform, this unique dataset includes clinical, immunological, virological and digital (wearable) biomarkers. The Disease in Motion platform has many potential applications across a wide variety of end users including big technology, wearables, pharma and biotech companies. Following COVID-19 there is now a renewed interest and investment in infectious diseases.

Open Orphan’s Paris office has been providing biometry, data management and statistics to its many European pharmaceutical clients for over 20 years. For over 15 years, the Company’s Netherlands office has been providing drug development consultancy and services, including CMC (chemistry, manufacturing and controls), PK and medical writing, to a broad range of European clients. Both offices are now also fully integrated with the London office and working on challenge study contracts as well as supporting third party trial contracts.

ECR Minerals #ECR – CEO Craig Brown talks to Alan Green

Brand Comms CEO Alan Green talks to ECR Minerals #ECR CEO Craig Brown about the company’s flagship gold exploration projects in the heart of Australia’s Victoria Goldfields. Taking slides from the latest company presentation, Craig talks about ECR’s wholly owned drill rig, HQ at Bendigo and the £4m funding and extra cash resources owned by the company. We look at the Creswick Gold project located close to the Ballarat Gold Mine before discussing this year’s production numbers at the Fosterville goldmine and how they might compare to assay results and ore grades currently being drilled at the Bailieston HR3 target. Craig looks at Black Cat, Cherry Tree and other targets at Bailieston, before we move onto the blue sky potential at the Tambo Project, and the connection with ECR’s Head Geologist Dr Rodney Boucher. We end with some takeaway points for investors.

Cadence Minerals and the next Commodity Supercycle

There is little doubt that historians will conclude that the global impact of COVID-19 represents the worst crisis since the Great Depression. The pandemic is leaving deep and enduring scars on the global economy, taxing health and medical services to the limit, depriving children of education, while decimating sectors of commerce and industry and in particular leisure and travel.

But history has shown on numerous occasions that the indomitable human spirit has a remarkable capacity for survival and evolution amidst existential crises. As areas such as traditional High St retail and seem to be drawing to a close, sectors such as commodities and mining are booming thanks to a near perfect storm created in part by the COVID crisis.

In October 2020, the IMF stated that the total bill for the global pandemic would reach some $28tn (£21.5tn) in lost output. The rapid intervention by global Governments with rate cuts, looser monetary policies and fiscal stimulus have certainly avoided a financial catastrophe, but at the same time these actions have effectively weakened fiat currencies and increased demand for commodities.

Historically the consequences of such events invariably see a strong recovery in commodity markets. This factor was clearly in evidence as 2020 progressed, and as the COVID noose tightened, prices of commodities such as Iron Ore, Copper and Nickel, along with precious metals including Gold and Silver, all increased in value.

As a consequence, as 2020 progressed prices of commodities such as Iron Ore, Copper and Nickel, along with precious metals including Gold and Silver, all increased in value.

In the wake of the sharp economic contractions in 2020, the IMF forecast that only China was expected to emerge with any economic growth during the year. 2021 is set to be a different story however, and with the vaccine rollout accelerating globally, there are expectations for sharp recoveries across most of the leading economies. Added to this, the new $1.9tn stimulus package in the US from the Biden administration will see heavy investment into ageing US infrastructure. These factors should ensure sustained demand and pricing for iron ore and base metals.

There is also the revolution taking place within the automotive industry to consider. The move towards EV’s is accelerating rapidly, with a plethora of commitments from key automotive manufacturers such as Ford, Volvo, BMW and Jaguar to switch to electric only production in the next few years. This move of course sounds the death knell for the internal combustion engine, but at the same time is driving the cost of battery metals and component commodities such as lithium, nickel, cobalt and graphite

The net effect is that mining, specific commodities and minerals, along with the sector’s nebulous support service industries are undergoing a significant global resurgence. Projects considered uneconomical to develop, and that have remained dormant for years are returning to life, newly financed and fast tracked thanks to the array of modern desktop technologies, data and modelling tools.

Iron Ore

In a note published last December, Goldman Sachs outlined their expectations for another substantial deficit next year (27Mt, GSe), supported by a combination of gradually decelerating China steel demand growth, sharply re-accelerating demand for Western steel and tepid supply growth. GS added that the weighting of the 2021 deficit to the front half of the year points to fundamental support for a sustained price path higher over Q1 and Q2, revising near-term targets for the benchmark 62% iron ore price to 3M $140/t and 6M $150/t.

These numbers of course imply material upside longer term, and GS have also upgraded full year forecasts for 2021 to $120/t ($90/t previously) and for 2022 to $95/t ($75/t previously).

GS sees four core drivers supporting this bullish view:

  1. Chinese steel production has remained strong & production in 2021 remains supported by a healthy infrastructure and property project pipeline, alongside a resurgence in China’s manufacturing capex cycle and steel exports.
  2. With construction and heavy industry remaining relatively less affected by second-wave lockdowns, Western steel demand is also recovering ahead of expectations. Significant regional price strength in the US and Europe is likely to spur further blast furnace restarts (and hence iron demand) after an aggressive suspensions phase in 2020 contributed to the current steel supply shortfalls as demand recovers.
  3. Iron ore supply growth is likely to stagnate in 2021. The limited growth that exists next year is concentrated with Vale Brazil operations, which is why their recent substantive downgrade to production guidance has had such an outsized positive impact on price.
  4. Chinese mill iron ore inventories remain low, raising the prospect of restocking bursts through the year.

For Cadence Minerals, this bullish outlook for iron ore puts two very firm ticks in the box, firstly for what is widely regarded as the company’s flagship Amapa Iron Ore project in Brazil, and secondly the investment in ASX and TSX listed Macarthur Minerals, with whom Amapa shares numerous infrastructural and evolutionary similarities.

Amapa Project

Bringing a project the size and scale of Amapa back to life has as expected proved to be a complex and challenging process. Nonetheless, DEV Mineração, Cadence and Indo Sino Pty Ltd are reaching a legal settlement with the project creditors, and with the ruling in February by the Commercial Court of São Paulo that port operations and the shipment of iron ore stockpiles can begin, the company is set to take the first practical step towards bringing the project back to life, which will in turn bring benefits to the Amapa region in terms of employment, health and education.

Once the creditor settlement agreement has been signed, an initial $2.5m investment will be released from escrow, meaning that the Pedra Branca Alliance (Cadence & Indo Sino JV co) will own 99.9% of DEV, the owner of the entire Amapa mining and processing assets,. At this point Cadence will proportionately own 20% of Amapa. The next step will involve a further $3.5m investment following the granting of the necessary environmental licenses required to operate the mine, which will see Cadence move to a 27% stake, with an option to increase to 49% once project financing has been raised to complete recommissioning and commence production.

Last November Cadence completed an updated Mineral Resource Estimate for Amapa, which increased the 2012 Anglo American MRE estimate by 21% to 176.7 million tonnes (“Mt”) grading 39.7% Fe in the Indicated category. With a production capacity of 5.3Mt per annum, the survey also noted there was significant potential to increase the resource base after the completion of metallurgical and optimisation studies.

Lake Giles Iron Project

Cadence also has a stake (c1%) in ASX and TSX listed Macarthur Minerals, owner of the Lake Giles Iron Project near Kalgoorlie in Western Australia. The Lake Giles project consists of the Moonshine magnetite deposit and the Ularring hematite deposit, which together have an indicated Mineral Resource Estimate of 218Mt grading 27.5% Fe in the Indicated category.

Lake Giles and Amapa share many similarities in regard to facilities and production routes, and with the Feasibility Study already underway, Lake Giles has a 3.4 Mt per annum production target with potential to scale-up operations.

Lithium

A recent paper published by commodities expert Fastmarkets FB noted that global lithium supply was developing at accelerating pace due to strong and continually growing demand. In particular the demand for compounds used in lithium-ion (li-ion) batteries such as lithium carbonate and lithium hydroxide has prompted lithium producers to expand total production while diversifying their investments in different lithium operations to ramp up production and diminish asset risk.

Despite an effective over supply in 2018-2019 that saw a price moratorium and a 50% fall in the price of battery-grade lithium carbonate in China, the subsequent seismic shift to bring forward EV production and commitments from major automotive manufacturers around the world saw the price of Lithium in China surge to an 18 month high of $9450 per tonne in January 2021.

The Fastmarkets’ research team expects global lithium demand to grow to at least 1.1 million tonnes per year of lithium-carbonate equivalent (LCE) by 2025 from an expected 300,000 tonnes of LCE in 2019, with Global lithium producers set to boost output year on year to maintain pace with growing demand. Despite this, as can be seen from the table above the numbers still don’t add up, with massive shortfalls projected by Benchmark Intelligence in lithium and other key constituent metals by 2030.

Over 2018, China emerged as the world’s leading lithium-processing hub with the rapid growth of companies like Ganfeng Lithium, which specialise in converting lithium concentrate from hard rock.

Cinovec – European Metals Holdings

The Cinovec project is the largest hard rock lithium resource in Europe and 4th largest non-brine resource in the world. Perfectly located to become the central lithium supply hub for the European EV industry, Cadence owns a 12% stake in AIM listed European Metals Holdings (EMH), which in turn owns 49% of the Cinovec project, (51% owned by utilities giant CEZ Group).

Cinovec is a potential low-cost producer at the bottom of the cost curve, and will sustainably supply 25,267 tpa lithium hydroxide or 22,500 tpa lithium carbonate into the European battery market.

Sonora Lithium Project

Cadence is a 30% joint venture partner with Bacanora Lithium (BCN) on the Fleur Lease (Mexalit & Megalit) at the Sonora Lithium Project in Mexico. A completed feasibility study values Sonora Mexico at US$1.25bn NPV, with some of the lowest production costs at $4,000/t in the industry.

AIM listed Bacanora is focused on building a 35,000 tpa lithium carbonate operation at Sonora with 50% owner and take off partner Ganfeng Lithium.

Australia Hard Rock Lithium Projects

Cadence owns three dormant hard rock lithium assets in Australia. These are Picasso (Western Australia – WA), Litchfield (Northern Territories – NT) and Alcoota (NT) all of which are in regions with proven lithium mineralisation and supportive mining infrastructure.

The Litchfield project, located near Darwin (NT), has an exploration license granted and is contiguous to Core Lithium’s (ASX: CXO) territory. Core has a JORC compliant mineral resource of 8.55Mt @ 1.33% Li2O for its Finnis project (for all six deposits).

Yangibana Rare Earths Project

Operated by ASX listed Hastings Technology Metals, Yangibana is a substantial Rare Earths deposit near Gascoyne in Western Australia. Drilling and sampling have revealed high concentrations of Neodymium and Praseodymium (NdPr), essential components in permanent magnets used in electric vehicles.

Cadence is a 30% joint venture partner with Hastings on part of the Yangibana Rare Earth Element Project. Probable Ore Reserves within the tenements held by Cadence are just over 2m tonnes with TREO of 1.66%.

The current mine plan anticipates production to start from the joint venture areas (Yangibana) in year 6.

A Key Role?

Around the world today there are countless mining exploration companies, commodity investors and mine operators with projects offering scope for development and potential for investment. The challenge with any project of this nature is matching the opportunity with the macro backdrop, projected demand for the commodity alongside capex vs. return, production routes, shipping and completion of cycle to bring the product to the customer.

Rarely if ever has the industry been presented with so compelling a backdrop for the commodity market as a whole. The significant global resurgence seen in the mining sector at present given is entirely sustainable given the level of asset purchases and spending by Governments to rejuvenate damaged economies and the inevitable resulting erosion in fiat currency value.

As economies emerge from the havoc wrought by the COVID virus and restrictions on spending are lifted, it is clear that in many cases demand will outstrip availability. This will apply almost without exception across the commodity spectrum – iron ore for steel to fund reconstruction – lithium, nickel, cobalt, graphite and rare earths to address the burgeoning demand for lithium-ion battery production.

There is no doubt that the recovering global economy is embarking on the next great Commodity Supercycle. Many mining groups and commodity project investors will benefit from this phenomenon by owning the right projects, at the right stage of evolution at the right time. On the evidence available today, Cadence Minerals is certainly one of them.

Open Orphan #ORPH – First volunteer dosed in intranasal COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial

Open Orphan plc (AIM: ORPH), a rapidly growing specialist pharmaceutical services CRO and a world leader in vaccine and antiviral testing using human challenge clinical trials, announces that the first volunteer has been dosed with the Codagenix Inc. (“Codagenix”) needle free, intranasal COVID-19 vaccine, COVI-VAC. Conducted by hVIVO, part of Open Orphan plc, the Phase I clinical trial of COVI-VAC is being carried out at their facility in the UK. COVI-VAC is a single-dose, intranasal, live attenuated (the entire virus in a weakened form) vaccine against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

Further to the Company’s announcement on 28 July 2020, hVIVO is working in collaboration with US biotech Codagenix to conduct a Phase I study of COVI-VAC. This is a randomised, double-blinded, placebo-controlled dose-escalation study, and will evaluate the safety and tolerability of the single-dose intranasal vaccine candidate in 48 healthy young adult volunteers at hVIVO’s state-of-the-art Quarantine Facility in Whitechapel, London.

The study will also evaluate the vaccine’s ability to provoke an immune response – measuring neutralising antibodies, mucosal immunity in the airway and cellular immunity. COVI-VAC has the potential to address several key logistical challenges to immunisation against SARS-CoV-2 at a global scale. As a single-dose, intranasally-delivered vaccine, COVI-VAC will not require a needle and syringe to be administered, nor ultra-low temperature freezers for storage. COVI-VAC can be manufactured on a large scale and supports ease of administration in a mass vaccination campaign. Codagenix expects to report initial data from the study by mid-2021.

Cathal Friel, Executive Chairman, Open Orphan, commented: “We are delighted to have been chosen by the New York based Codagenix to run this very important COVID-19 vaccine study in our quarantine clinic in London. This vaccine is one of the first of the next generation COVID-19 vaccines, it is a single dose, needle free, intranasal, live attenuated COVID-19 virus vaccine. Thus, in our opinion, because it is a live attenuated virus vaccine, COVI-VAC has the potential to give much longer-lasting cellular immunity against COVID-19 than many of the first-generation vaccines.

“Codagenix sought an inpatient facility for the first in human evaluation of COVI-VAC to allow for thorough evaluation of product safety and real-time volunteer monitoring, and our unique state-of-the-art quarantine facility in East London is one of the few facilities in the world suitable to conduct this trial safely and successfully. hVIVO are providing a full-service trial as part of this contract with Codagenix and the team at FluCamp have been responsible for all aspects of trial recruitment for this study through www.FluCamp.com .

“hVIVO is world-recognised for its expertise in evaluation of live viruses in human volunteers and we look forward to a positive outcome.”

Sybil Tasker, MD, MPH, Chief Medical Officer of Codagenix, said: “Dosing of the first patients in the Phase 1 clinical trial of COVI-VAC, our single-dose, intranasal, live attenuated vaccine against COVID-19, is an important milestone for Codagenix and the hVIVO team.   As a live attenuated vaccine, COVI-VAC has the potential to provide a broader immune response in comparison to other COVID-19 vaccines that target only a portion of the virus, which could prove critical as new variants of SARS-CoV-2 have begun to emerge.  Additionally, we believe COVI-VAC can address potential gaps in supplying the global immunization effort against COVID-19, especially in developing countries .”

Interested in becoming a volunteer?

hVIVO recruits many of its volunteers for its challenge study clinical trials through its dedicated volunteer recruitment website,  www.flucamp.com . hVIVO welcomes volunteers to take part in our clinical trials under expertly supervised conditions, to further medical research, and help us to take the understanding of respiratory illnesses to a new level. Volunteers are central to the work that we do; our studies focus on testing new treatments on real people, in a safe, controlled, clinical environment.

Further details on all aspects of our volunteer programs including testimonials from previous volunteers can be found at www.flucamp.com .

If you are interested in being contacted and provided with details about future COVID-19 human challenge study research, please leave your contact details at  www.UKCovidChallenge.com .

For further information please contact:

 

Open Orphan plc

+353 (0) 1 644 0007

Cathal Friel, Executive Chairman

Arden Partners plc (Nominated Adviser and Joint Broker)

  +44 (0) 20 7614 5900

John Llewellyn-Lloyd / Benjamin Cryer / Dan Gee-Summons

finnCap plc (Joint Broker)

+44 (0) 20 7220 0500

Geoff Nash / James Thompson/ Richard Chambers

Davy (Euronext Growth Adviser and Joint Broker)

+353 (0) 1 679 6363

Anthony Farrell

Walbrook PR (Financial PR & IR)

+44 (0)20 7933 8780 or openorphan@walbrookpr.com

Anna Dunphy / Paul McManus

+44 (0)7876 741 001 / +44 (0)7980 541 893 

 

About Open Orphan ( www.openorphan.com )

Open Orphan is a rapidly growing niche CRO pharmaceutical services company which is a world leader in the testing of vaccines and antivirals through the use of human challenge clinical trials. Conducted from Europe’s only 24-bedroom quarantine clinic with onsite virology providing individually isolated rooms and connected to our specialist laboratory facility.  hVIVO’s challenge studies require healthy volunteers to take part, volunteers are recruited through FluCamp, learn more at  www.FluCamp.com The hVIVO facility offers highly specialised virology and immunology laboratory services to support pre-clinical and clinical respiratory drug, antiviral, and vaccine discovery and development.  Reliable laboratory analysis underpinned by scientific expertise is essential when processing and analysing clinical samples. Robust quality processes support our team of scientists in the delivery of submission ready data.

The Company has a leading portfolio of 8 viral challenge study models which are: 2 FLU, 2 RSV, 1 HRV, 1 Asthma, 1 cough and 1 COPD viral challenge models. As announced in early March, Open Orphan is rapidly advancing a number of Coronavirus challenge study models and expects to be helping many COVID-19 vaccine development companies to test their vaccines. No other company in the world has such a portfolio, with only two competitors globally having 1 challenge study model each.  hVIVO also works with companies in the UK and Ireland to provide COVID-19 testing to staff to protect staff and customers from a workplace COVID-19 outbreak through its  COVID Clear  offering.  

Open Orphan comprises of two commercial specialist CRO services businesses,  hVIVO    and    Venn Life Sciences  and is also building out a valuable data platform business. hVIVO has built up one of the world’s largest databases of infectious disease progression data and we are populating our Open Orphan Health Data platform with this historical hVIVO data. In our clinical trials going forward, we are also planning to collect data on volunteers via wearables during clinical trials. Therefore, Open Orphan’s data, which may yield valuable digital biomarkers, could be one of the more sought-after datasets by many of the large wearables /smart watch wearables providers around the world. In June 2019, Open Orphan acquired AIM-listed Venn Life Sciences Holdings plc in a reverse take-over and in January 2020 it completed the merger with hVIVO plc. Venn is an integrated drug development consultancy firm which offers CMC (chemistry, manufacturing and controls), preclinical, Phase I & II clinical trials design and execution. The merger with hVIVO created a European full pharma services company broadening the Company’s customer base and with complementary specialist CRO services, widened the range of the Company’s service offerings.

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