SMALL CAP MOVERS: Ondine Biomedical makes debut on AIM as slew of late IPOs make for a busy end of the year
If party season in the Square Mile looks set to be a washout again this year, at least its inhabitants of bankers, lawyers and accountants have plenty of work to occupy them in the coming few weeks with a slew of late IPOs ready to go live.
Normally, December is a quiet period for new listings. Not so this time around.
In all, we are expecting eight flotations between now and the end of 2021, according to the London Stock Exchange’s pages tracking new issue activity.
All are set to join the junior AIM market, which has grown at such a rapid pace this year that there may be a little post-yuletide indigestion.
For the new year, there’s only one IPO in the LSE’s calendar currently – Recycling Technologies Group – which suggests City advisors are keeping their powder dry.
If we emerge with the markets intact (no racing certainty given the Nasdaq tank on Thursday night) the tap may start running velocity again. At this stage, it is a case of wait and see.
Looking at the wider market for growth stocks, the AIM All Share has fallen 2.6 per cent over the last five trading days, underperforming the FTSE 100, which was flat over that period.
One IPO that flew under the radar but most likely will start to make a splash in the coming weeks was that of Ondine Biomedical.
The market reaction has been tepid with the shares trading sideways on negligible volumes.
However, the Vancouver-based group is very on trend with laser-based technology that has the potential to kill Covid (in whatever incarnation) and may also help defuse the ticking time-bomb of multi-drug-resistant infections that is at the root of hospital-acquired illnesses.
The process is called photodisinfection and it has been used in Canadian hospitals and clinics for a decade or so now.
Sticking with the healthcare sector, but with a degree of frustration at the peculiarities of share price movements at this end of the market, it is hard to understand the seeming collapse in sentiment underpinning Rua Life Sciences (down 40 per cent) and Genedrive (off 39 per cent this week and 42 per cent since December 9).
Covid test maker Genedrive has seen shares tumble 39% this week
The former furnished the market with its interims (largely irrelevant at this stage in its development), said it was flush with cash, and told the market of a change in the regulatory process around its vascular grafts.
‘Ah,’ you might say. ‘The grafts bit, there’s the problem.’ Well, yes and no.
The grafts news was already in the market. After that it is hard to see just which further detail has placed investors in fright mode.
With no news this week, the drop in Genedrive is hard to explain other than it perhaps being a prolonged bout of profit-taking after a spike in the share price in late November.
Anyway, after these two head-scratchers, something a little more straightforward and positive: Shield Therapeutics was rewarded with a 25 per cent mark-up to its value this week after it revealed it is making headway with the large companies that stock pharmacies across the US.
Agreements with these ‘pharmacy benefit managers’ means its treatment for iron deficiency is now available on a marketplace that serves 40million patients.
Sister companies Open Orphan and Poolbeg, both chaired by serial entrepreneur Cathal Freil, also had a decent week. The latter announced it was moving into oral vaccines in a tie-up with a microencapsulation specialist, resulting in a 16 per cent share price jump.
Meanwhile, there was a flurry of follow-on buying after last Friday’s news that Open Orphan had landed a £10million contract to carry out an influenza human challenge study. The shares ended the week 14 per cent better off.
It has also been a better week for Bahamas-based Challenger Energy, which rose 36 per cent after concluding a negotiation that slashes its debt.
Ending where we stared – ‘IPOsville’ – Libertine Holdings is one to watch. It is the maker of linear electrical machines and software which can produce up to a third more power from renewable fuels than traditional motors. It is hoping to raise £10million from its AIM float.