Insecticide company Bio-gene Technology (ASX:BGT) has joined the ranks of ASX small caps to successfully raise capital in the wake of the COVID-19 disruption.

Bio-gene announced this morning that it had closed a $2.4m share placement to sophisticated and professional investors.

The raise was completed via the issuance of 15,487,742 fully paid ordinary shares, priced at 15.5c per share.

CEO Richard Jagger said the new funds came at an important time for the company as it drove business development on two key fronts — expanding its network of commercial partnerships and accelerating existing studies around the application of its technology.

The company is focused on developing a new and improved range of insecticide products that target existing resistance levels among pest insects such as mosquitoes, while also protecting beneficial insects (such as bees).

“These funds will enable us to continue accelerating our research into the efficacy of our technology, based on recent positive research results,” Jagger said.

Recent research from Stockhead shows that more than 60 ASX small caps have raised capital in the current market, with shares in more than two thirds of those companies trading higher than their raising price.

Last month, BGT signed a deal with Clarke Mosquito Control to develop two of its products, Flavocide and Qcide, for use in mosquito control efforts through South and Central America.

Across its commercial channels, Bio-gene now has two existing partnerships and eight Material Transfer Agreements spanning four key verticals: crop protection, grain storage, public health and consumer products.

In addition to its professional investor base, the company has also invited its retail shareholders to participate in a share purchase plan, up to the value of $1.5m.

Eligible shareholders will be able to purchase up to $30,000 in fully paid ordinary shares.

“We are delighted that shareholders, both existing and new, have supported the progress we’ve made over the last 12 months by investing further in the company,” Jagger said.

“It’s particularly validating on top of the support we’ve received through third party partnerships to further evaluate our technology.”

Reflecting the discount on offer (a 20.5 per cent discount to the company’s May 19 trading price), Bio-gene shares fell in morning trade, but the company’s stock price remains well above its March lows at the height of the COVID-19 market selloff.

 

In other ASX biotech news this morning:

Shares in cancer-fighting biotech Prescient Therapeutics (ASX:PTX) jumped sharply after the company announced licensing agreements for its immune receptor platform with two global universities.

Prescient now has an exclusive licence from the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) for an immune receptor platform used in “the development of innovative cell therapies”. It also signed a non-exclusive licence from Oxford University for a new molecular binding system that is complementary to the UPenn technology.

Heading into midday trade, Prescient shares were up more than 10 per cent to 5c.