Novacyt was one of the rare risers in a bloodbath week for the UK stock market, thanks to the success of its coronavirus diagnostic test which it handily launched a few weeks ago.
The stock has been rising steadily for the past month or so, but shot up 33 per cent to 140.14p in the last week.
It looks like the phones at Novacyt have been ringing off the hook with a major distribution agreement signed in Asia and an original equipment manufacturer deal in the US.
As of 27 February, Novacyt said it had made £930,000 by distributing tests for research use only
The group told investors on Friday that initial sales from the Asian distribution deal, which are subject to local emergency use approval, are anticipated to be £2.1million during the first six months, with the first money flowing in March.
Meanwhile, the diagnostics kit – managed by Novacyt’s Primedesign unit – has been fast-tracked for approval by the US Food and Drug Administration for use in the country’s clinics.
As of 27 February, the biotech firm said it had made £930,000 by distributing tests for research use only. Novacyt has boosted production capacity and continues to adjust to the increasing demand.
The week, otherwise, was a disastrous one for the wider market, with the FTSE AIM All Share index plunging 13 per cent to 848, while the blue-chip FTSE 100 index dropped well below the 7,000 mark, plunging 11 per cent to 6,584 as worries over the impact of coronavirus on the global economy battered markets.
Jet2 owner Dart joined a collective collapse in airline stocks, crashing 36 per cent lower to 1,175p as the spread of coronavirus cases caused travel freezes in Europe.
Non-essential business trips have been cancelled, with analysts estimating the global airline industry will take a $560billion hit, while tourism in the continent is paralysed by a high number of cases in Italy.
But other fallers could not blame it on the virus, although the depressed markets made their performance worse.
Affordable housing company Ashley House plummeted 52 per cent to 1p as it candidly admitted it will go bust unless it pays its creditors, which will be difficult to do if its current nine non-contracted projects do not go ahead.
Elsewhere, remote meetings company LoopUp dropped 40 per cent to 48p after it said its US business has been hit by macro uncertainty in the law, corporate finance and private equity sectors.
Pesticide producer Plant Health Care tanked 26 per cent to 8p as it started the week by issuing shares at 8p a pop, well below last Friday’s closing price of 14.25p.
A few directors bought 1million shares after the big sell-off, which raised $4.6million to help Plant Health compensate for lower-than-expected revenue in 2019.
Advanced materials group Haydale Graphene Industries slumped 25 per cent to 1p as it posted first-half sales that were below expectations due to issues in the US aerospace and petrochemical sectors.
Similarly, engineer Avingtrans tumbled 16 per cent to 270p as interim profits halved to £300,000 despite a 15 per cent increase in revenue to £54.8million.
The lower profit figure was attributed to a £900,000 loss in the firm’s Energy steel and Booth businesses, both of which it acquired in June last year.
Jet2 owner Dart joined a collective collapse in airline stocks, crashing 36 per cent lower to 1,175p as the spread of coronavirus cases caused travel freezes in Europe
On the resources front, Base Resources lost 12 per cent to 11p as its interim production came in lower than in 2018, due to operations being moved to a nearby mine after depleting the orebody in its Central Dune project in Kenya.
Only a couple of companies managed to defy the precipitous market trend.
Symphony Environmental rocketed 74 per cent to 13p as it received approval for its d2p antimicrobial food packaging from the US Food and Drug Administration and said it expected immediate commercial interest.
And Eddie Stobart Logistics jumped 30 per cent to 9p in just two days as the logistics firm returned to AIM after a six-month suspension, although it reported a swing to an interim loss for the six months to 30 June following big impairment charges.
Trading in the trucking firm’s shares had been halted after the group discovered a £2million black hole in its accounts, sparking a review of its revenue policy, with firm only saved from liquidation in December by a cash injection from a major shareholder.
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