Wednesday 20 May 2020
Here is our summary of the day's hottest RNS alerts from across London's Alternative Investments Market (AIM).
Avacta Group Plc (AVCT.LSE)
Distribution Agreement for COVID-19 Antigen Test
Avacta Group plc, the developer of Affimer biotherapeutics and reagents, announced that it has entered into an exclusive distribution agreement with Medusa19 Limited for direct-to-consumer sales of a saliva-based rapid test for the COVID-19 antigen.
Avacta recently announced a partnership with Cytiva (formerly GE Healthcare Life Sciences) to develop a saliva-based rapid antigen test to indicate whether a person has the COVID-19 infection which will be in the form of a simple test strip. The test is intended to give a result within minutes and for use by both healthcare professionals and consumers.
The Group has agreed an exclusive distribution agreement with Medusa19 for the supply of the COVID-19 rapid test direct to consumers globally, subject to the necessary regulatory approvals. Medusa19 has been established by Richard Hughes and Mahmud Kamani, both founder shareholders of Boohoo.com and shareholders of Avacta1, to build a global consumer self-testing business. Medusa19's initial focus will be on COVID-19 home testing and it is currently investing in global e-commerce, logistics and customer support infrastructure in preparation for Avacta's COVID-19 test launch. Medusa19 will also have non-exclusive rights to supply the tests to businesses for workforce testing. The distribution agreement includes a profit-sharing arrangement.
The global demand for rapid antigen tests, which will be critical to lockdown exit strategies around the world in order to get healthy, non-contagious people back to work, could be many millions of tests per month. There will also be an ongoing need for several years for this type of testing as the disease recurs.
Avacta recently announced that it rapidly developed Affimer reagents that detect the SARS-COV-2 virus spike protein and it has now supplied those to Cytiva for test development. The Group is intending to establish further rapid test strip manufacturing partners in anticipation of a very high demand for the COVID-19 antigen test.
OptiBiotix Health Plc (OPTI.LSE)
Launch of SlimBiome gummies in USA
OptiBiotix Health plc, a life sciences business developing compounds to tackle obesity, high
cholesterol, diabetes and skincare, announced that the Company has entered into a non-exclusive license agreement for its SlimBiome® trademark with Evolution_18 and related launch of fibre gummies containing OptiBiotix's SlimBiome® proprietary weight management technology.
Evolution_18 is a US-based company founded by Bobbi Brown who is known for turning a simple makeup line, Bobbi Brown Essentials, into a billion-dollar global brand with Estée Lauder Companies (https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/31/style/bobbi-brown-just-bobbi.html ). Turning her focus to wellness products, she became a certified health coach and launched her wellness brand, Evolution_18, which turned out to be another success story with the listing of its products at 1,500 Walmart stores as of April 2019 and an estimated 3,000 Walmart stores in September 2019 ( https://foundr.com/money-talks-bobbi-brown ).
Dr. Fred Narbel, Managing Director of OptiBiotix's prebiotics division , commented:
"We are very pleased to announce this new commercial launch in the USA. The partnership with Evolution_18 allows us to collaborate with a brand that is distributed in more than 3,000 Walmart stores in the USA and also further increase awareness of the SlimBiome ® brand. This agreement builds on the recently announced launch of SlimBiome ® containing products in the UK with Holland & Barrett (RNS: 7 January 2020), a partnership with OptiPharm, whose Optislim is Australia's best selling weight management brand (RNS: 31 March 2020), as well the signature of a non-exclusive agreement with Smart For Life (RNS: 4 May 2020) which made SlimBiome ® available to customers at Walmart in the USA and Costco in Canada in early May.
"This agreement with Evolution_18 demonstrates our ability to negotiate deals with increasingly large partners around the world. As announced on 18 May 2020, this has led to a change in the nature of our discussions with prospective commercial partners as we no longer have to demonstrate the validity or commercial value of our science leading to more deals (70%) expected to deliver revenues in the first year of agreement compared to 2019 (35%)."
Gfinity PLC (GFIN.LSE)
Gfinity signs multi-year agreement with Formula 1
Gfinity, a world-leading esports and gaming solutions provider, announced that it has extended its relationship with F1 and been appointed to deliver the main elements of the F1 Esports Series in 2020 and 2021, and the 2022 qualifying events. In addition, the previously announced F1 Esports Virtual Grand Prix Series has been extended to June of this year.
As part of the agreement for the F1 Esports Series, in 2020 Gfinity will deliver the Pro Draft Reveal Show and the Pro Series; in 2021 Gfinity will deliver the Challenger Series qualifying events, Pro Draft live show and Pro Series; and in 2022, Gfinity will deliver the qualifying events. Full details of the 2020 season format will be announced in due course.
Under the terms of the contract, Gfinity will deliver a dedicated account management team responsible for the delivery of all elements of the programme; a full league operations team responsible for writing all rules and governing the drivers participating in the tournament; and provide the use of 'Race Control', Gfinity's proprietary in-race adjudication system. The Gfinity Arena in London will also be the main venue for live broadcasts.
Gfinity has been working with Formula 1 and Codemasters (CDM.L), a leading UK publisher of racing games, to design, develop and deliver the main elements of the F1 Esports Series since 2017.
In addition, further to the announcement on 23 March 2020 that Gfinity had been selected to deliver the new F1 Esports Virtual Grand Prix Series, the Series has now been extended until June. The Virtual Grand Prix Series will replace each live F1 Grand Prix that has been postponed due to the coronavirus. Gfinity worked closely with Formula 1 on the conception of the series and oversees the delivery of the tournament, tournament operations and broadcast production. The first race, the Virtual Bahrain Grand Prix took place on Sunday 22 March 2020. Since then there have been four additional Virtual Grand Prix in Vietnam, China, the Netherlands and Spain, and three F1 Esports Challenge Driver events.