Versarien receives £1.93m investment from South Korean firm Graphene Lab
(VRS ) said it has entered into a wide-ranging series of agreements with Graphene Lab Co which has also in turn made a strategic investment of £1.93m into the Company.
Graphene Lab is a South Korean based firm specialising in chemical vapor deposition ("CVD") graphene, including sensors, OLEDs, and flexible transparent touch panels.
The advanced materials engineering group said the series of agreements intend to advance both Versarien's and Graphene Lab's proposed activities in South Korea. Graphene Lab has entered into the agreements with Versarien’s wholly owned subsidiary, Versarien Korea.
In addition, Graphene Lab outlined that it has made a strategic investment of £1.93 million in the Company through a subscription for 4,280,000 new Ordinary Shares at a price of 45p.
The win follows Versarien’s acquisition of certain graphene production related assets and intellectual property from South Korea based Hanwha Aerospace Co in December 2020.
Under the deal, Graphene Lab will receive a licence to utilise, exclusively in South Korea, 14 of the patents acquired through the Acquisition for a 5% royalty on sales payable to Versarien.
Graphene Lab has the right to use certain Versarien trademarks on payment of a 2% royalty on sales to Versarien while the Group will also acquire 15% of the shares in Versarien Korea at their nominal value and the board of Versarien Korea will, in due course, comprise five directors, of which four will be nominated by Versarien and one by Graphene Lab, it noted.
Graphene Lab has leased new premises in South Korea and Versarien Korea is taking a sub-lease over part of that facility, to locate the equipment acquired as part of the Acquisition.
Both Versarien Korea and Graphene Lab have also agreed to share equipment at an agreed daily rate while Graphene Lab is to provide certain operator and maintenance support.
Neill Ricketts, Chief Executive Officer of Versarien, commented, "We are delighted to have secured this agreement with Graphene Lab, which will enable us to advance our plans in South Korea, following the Acquisition in December. I am also pleased that our partnership with Graphene Lab has been further reinforced by the stake they have taken in Versarien.”
He added, “We are excited by the opportunities for Versarien in South Korea, including for new product developments, and we look forward to providing updates in due course."
Shares in Versarien have increased by over 40% since the beginning of November 2020. The stock was trading 6.62% higher this morning at 41.92p following the announcement.
Versarien is an advanced engineering materials group that leverages proprietary technology through innovative engineering solutions. The company holds eight subsidiaries which operate under two divisions, Graphene and Plastics and HardWare and Metallic Products.
Commercialisation of the ‘Wonder Material’
In 2019/20 Versarien entered into collaborations with global partners. The group completed a process required to achieve the award of a £5 million Innovate UK loan. It said its focus ‘is now very much on the monetisation of the graphene technologies’ in its portfolio.
The loan is for a project named G SCALE, (Graphene-Seat, Concrete, Arch, Leisure, Elastomer), covering a number of Versarien's existing collaborations, which is designed to enable Versarien to ‘significantly increase’ its manufacture of quality assured graphene.
Expanding Product Portfolio
In August 2020, the company launched its first graphene enhanced protective face mask, which utilises Polygrene, Versarien’s graphene enhanced polymer. The mask is a filtering facepiece designed to protect against airborne bacteria and the spread of viral infection.
Versarien has also formed the Versarien Graphene Advisory Panel (VGap) to commercialise ‘the many opportunities’ of graphene. This will focus on the dual agenda of scoping Versarien's current and future technologies, along with wider graphene related topics.
In addition, last week Versarien released results of a preliminary study of modified graphene materials, which were shown to possess properties inactivating the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
The report concluded that the preliminary test results show that these materials significantly inhibit viral infection and possess antiviral activity towards SARS-CoV-2. The company said the results obtained were ‘statistically highly significant with a p-value of less than 0.0001.’
The report concludes that the results show GNA22 and GNA24 to significantly inhibit viral infection and suggests that these materials possess antiviral activity towards SARS-CoV-2.
“While we must stress that these results have been achieved under laboratory conditions, they do demonstrate that our hybrid graphene nanomaterials have the potential to provide protection from COVID-19,” said Neill Ricketts, Chief Executive Officer of Versarien.
International Expansion into China and South Korea
The company plans to use Beijing Versarien Technology Company Limited, its wholly owned Chinese foreign entity, to form the base for its expansion activities in China.
Additionally, Company plans to establish operations in South Korea via its new subsidiary, which will be overseen initially by Versarien's Head of International Strategy and Government Relations, Matt Walker.
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