If it has been a busy week for the blue-chip results then it has been equally frenetic for the small-caps with companies and their advisers pushing out the last leftovers of material news before the month-long summer hiatus kicks off.
We may see trickle more before we hit dead air, but expect things to become a lot quieter as we head into August.
It’s apt, given the record temperatures being recorded around the Square Mile, that the sun finally came out for Avacta, which saw its shares rise by a quarter this week.
Drug technology: Avacta is developing synthetic proteins used for cancer treatment
The company is at the forefront of drug technology and is developing synthetic proteins called Affimers.
They act like monoclonal antibodies used for cancer treatment in that they can carry a payload that tries to shut down the disease. Affimers differ from antibodies in so much as they are easier cheaper to produce.
The news that sparked the movement was the announcement of a deal with US group Bach BioSciences, which was set up to commercialise the research of William Bachovchin, a professor at Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston.
In what is described as a ‘ground-breaking’ co-invention, the two companies have developed a new class of drug conjugate for cancer.
Traditional antibody-drug conjugates, or ADCs, are designed to harness the targeting ability of monoclonal antibodies by linking them to cell-killing agents.
The two companies believe they have a technology that will turn tumours from being ‘cold’ and unreceptive to immuno-therapy to be being ‘treatable’ using the latest drugs.
The stock shot up 60 per cent initially; however, some investors used the announcement to cash out, so there was a pullback.
Looking at the wider market for small-caps, the AIM All Share rose 6 points, or 1,102, matching the muted percentage movement of the FTSE 100.
The junior market’s biggest winner was RedT Energy, which makes industrial batteries.
Up almost 50 per cent in the last week, the jump in value came after the company inked a deal with German firm Energy System Management to deliver almost 700 megawatts of capacity.
On the flipside, it was a tough week for Symphony Environmental where questions have been raised over its biodegradable plastic technology. The group refutes the claims, but some investors were worried enough to bail out, dragging the price down 30 per cent in the process.
The market wasn’t exactly smitten by the performance of marketing group Ebiquity. A seemingly benign trading statement prompted a 28 per cent fall in the stock, which is down almost two-thirds in value over the last year.
Twitchy investors appear to be to blame for the 28 per cent decline of another marketer – Veltyco. The business, which is focused on the gambling sector, said it would err just a little from guidance and was promptly slapped down.
It was another horrendous week for Akers Bioscience as investors continued to head for the exit. In the last year the shares have lost around 80 per cent of their value.
For those who haven’t been keeping up with news, the diagnostics microcap has suffered a series of operational and financial setbacks that culminated in the company having to restate its figures. In April its founder and former boss, Ray Akers, quit abruptly and it’s been downhill since.
Finally, commentators covering AIM are all too eager to pounce on the failures of the junior market, which is often likened to a casino.
But the incubator bourse has enjoyed some successes. A great example is Clinigen, the speciality pharma group that put out a solid trading statement earlier this week.
It listed on AIM back in September 2012 valued at just £135million. Today it is worth £1.2bn and is one of only 11 companies on AIM valued in excess of £1bn.
Put another way, had you invested £1,000 in Clinigen at float, it would now be worth well over £6,000.