Tiziana Life Sciences PLC (LON:TILS) had a storming session on Thursday – the last trading of the week before the Easter break – doubling in value.
Not only has the London and New York-listed firm found a potential treatment for the complications of coronavirus (COVID-19) that have hospitalised UK prime minister Boris Johnson, but it has also developed an inhaler that means the effects of the medication should be almost instantaneous.
A word of caution here, the treatment known as TZLS-501 is still at a fledgling stage of development.
However, it is among a class of drugs called anti-interleukin-6 receptors currently used for rheumatoid arthritis that are now being deployed to tackle lung inflammation in the worst-affected COVID-19 sufferers.
Not just that, Tiziana’s treatment may have a number of advantages over the competition – not least the inhaler method used to get the drug to the affected area. Currently, life-saving antibodies are administered intravenously.
“The technology, we think, provides immediate relief thanks to the delivery speed,” said chairman Gabriele Cerrone, talking to Proactive Investors.
The stock closed up 37.5p at 70p on Thursday
Turning to the wider market, Tiziana’s advance helped cement a 12% rise in the AIM All-Share index, comprehensively outperforming the FTSE 100, which was up 6% over the shortened trading week.
There was a mixed response to a £247mln rescue funding deal secured by online fashion retailer ASOS PLC (LON:ASC), once the largest company on the junior market.
Liberum pointed out that ASOS’s current net debt is £164mln, above the estimated £90mln based on previous guidance, “highlighting how quickly working capital unwinds at ASOS”.
“The raise does not seem enough, current disclosure remains poor at a time when more information should be provided and risks loom large in fast fashion as clearance activity post lockdown could be very fierce in this segment of the market, limiting cash generation further,” the City broker said.
Jefferies, by contrast, reckons the shift to online shopping could provide a long-term boost to ASOS. The online retailer’s shares staged a relief rally, climbing 98% to 2,121p.
Data collector Remote Monitored Systems PLC (LON:RMS) topped the week’s the risers, zooming up 266% to 0.5p, after reporting on Wednesday that its Cloudveil security management subsidiary has received an “unprecedented level of enquiries” over the last two months.
It cashed in on that gain by then raising £350,000 in a share placing on Thursday to support that growth, placing 140mln ordinary shares at a price of 0.25p each, a 44% discount to its closing price on Wednesday
Pharma player Omega Diagnostics Group PLC (LON:ODX) climbed 86% to 19p after it partnered to develop a coronavirus antibody test.
Similarly, diagnostics kit producer Novacyt SA (LON:NCYT) soared a further 61% to 323p on the back of a collaboration with pharma giants AstraZeneca and GlaxoSmithKline and the University of Cambridge, to support the UK’s efforts to increase coronavirus testing.
Advanced materials group Haydale Graphene Industries PLC (LON:HAYD) shot up 40% to 1p after signing an exclusive distributor agreement with Dalian Yibang Technology, which will market Haydale’s electrically conductive graphene-enhanced master-batch to the Chinese and Taiwanese markets.
In the oil and gas sector, Global Petroleum Limited (LON:GBP) jumped 47% higher to 1p after it acquired seismic data that will enable precise mapping of a block offshore Namibia.
Fellow oiler Providence Resources PLC (LON:PVR) advanced 14% to 2p after raising US$3mln and inking a preliminary agreement to farm out its flagship Barryroe oil field project.
Lansdowne Oil & Gas PLC (LON:LOGP) also got a nudge up 14% to 0.4p since it has a 20% stake in Barryroe, with Providence owning the rest.
It was a less fortunate week for sector peer 88 Energy PLC (LON:88E), which collapsed 71% to 0.2p, after reporting its oil well Charlie-1 in Alaska had been plugged and abandoned.
Another faller was Edenville Energy PLC (LON:EDL), dropping 16% to 0.02p, after its coal operations were hit by the rainy season and the spread of the coronavirus in Tanzania.
Real Good Food PLC (LON:RGD) slumped 30% to 2p due to hospitality venues being shuttered in several countries. The ingredients seller said the pandemic will affect its first-quarter sales and “potentially thereafter”.
Finally, Africa-focused airline Fastjet PLC (LON:FJET) descended 9% to 0.1p as travel restrictions hit the sector. It was doubly hobbled by a delay to the disposal of its Zimbabwe arm due to the “unfavourable” market conditions.