Aptamer seeks urgent funding as contracts boost shares

Shares of York-based life sciences firm Aptamer Group plc rose about 20% after it published an update on recent contract wins amounting to up to £507,000 over the next six months.

But the firm confirmed that “further funding will be required in the short-term in order to continue as a going concern.” It said the company’s directors are “actively reviewing all possible financing options” but there can be no certainty “that these discussions will be successful.”

Aptamer joined the stock market in December 2021 at around £1.17 per share and rose to about £1.48 to give the firm a stock market capitalisation of roughly £100 million — but the stock has since fallen about 95% to around 5p to give the company a stock market value of only £3.5 million.

On the contracts, Apatmer said: “After a difficult 12 months, the company is pleased to be able to report four new contacts signed in the last three weeks.

“All four contracts relate to FY24 and were included in the pipeline set out in the trading update announced on 4 July 2023, and represent an important early contribution towards reaching the company’s revenue targets for the year ending 30 June 2024.

“The combined value of up to £507,000 represents total contract value, and the final value to be recognised as revenue will be subject to scientific attrition as the contracts progress.”

Aptamer said the first contract is with a top ten pharmaceutical company that requires Optimer binders to support a bioprocessing application.

As part of this agreement, Aptamer Group will develop Optimer binders to enable new methods to purify gene therapies.

Aptamer said the second contract is to support a US-based gene therapy company with Optimer binders to a key target in neurodegenerative disease.

Aptamer will develop Optimer binders to enable reliable measurements of a disease biomarker in the company’s research immunoassays. The Optimer binders will be used with an antibody in a sandwich pair format to advance neuroscience disease research.

The third contract is with a US-based genetic medicine company to generate Optimer binders for two viral targets.

The final contract signed is a follow-on deal with a US-based vaccine development company. 

On its future of the firm, Apatmer said: “As noted in the trading update issued on 4 July 2024, the group’s unaudited cash balance at the end of June was £0.2 million.

“In addition to trading income, further funding will be required in the short-term in order to continue as a going concern.

“The directors are actively reviewing all possible financing options that are in the best interests of the company and its shareholders and continue to take steps to carefully manage working capital.

“Whilst the board is aiming for a satisfactory outcome of the financing, there can be no certainty that these discussions will be successful, nor as to the terms or timing thereof.”