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RNS Number : 3648G

Deepverge PLC

26 July 2021

26 July 2021

DeepVerge plc

("DeepVerge" or the "Company")

Skin Trust Club UK laboratories upgrading to deliver 20,000 units per month by Q4 2021

Bottlenecks for processing home test kits being eliminated by additional gene sequencing installations

Updates on Microtox(R) PD wastewater project

   DeepVerge   (LSE:DVRG.L), is pleased to announce the following updates: 

Skin Trust Club

Additional investment from the recent GBP10m placing has facilitated the completion of the laboratories upgrade in York, UK, to provide capacity for processing up to 20,000 Skin Trust Club home test kits per month, for the UK market, subject only to delivery of gene sequencing machines, expected to arrive in early September. Details on the launch of the Skin Trust Club Android app and marketing campaign to commence in September engaging the skills of a, soon to be announced, top global media agency are highlighted in today's Annual General Meeting ("AGM") presentation.

Demand received from consumers and B2B partners, such as beauticians and dermatologists, has resulted in completion of more than 5,000 tests which was the limit of capacity up to the end of June. Further demand has arisen from Labskin skincare corporate clients requesting to include home test kits before and after product and ingredient tests for each human test subject in contract clinical trials, which exceeds current service capacity and is expected to increase outside of any consumer related marketing campaign.

As well as processing capacity for 20,000 units in the UK by Q4 2021, preparations are underway for the same volume for the US market, expected to launch in H1 2022. In addition, Labskin is completing development of ethnic skin model testing which will enable a similar volume of 20,000 units per month in China targeted for launch in H2 2022 in 5 major cities (Shanghai, Beijing, Tianjin, Shenzhen and Guangzhou) that have a combined population of c80m.

Microtox(R) PD wastewater project

-- Successful first data transfer of detection of SARS-CoV-2 via Microtox(R) PD units has completed with unidentified clients from installed units in undisclosed locations (under strict conditions of NDA's).

-- Final housekeeping/validation involves duplicate timestamped samples for independent PCR testing with third party lab and includes deeper data integration with Strathkelvin Instruments[i].

-- Planning manufacturing at scale in negotiation with China Resources for rolling out at national level via Partners, Dell Technologies, EPS Group

-- Beyond the success of current single pathogen target chips, multiplex chips to begin testing for multiple targets that include SARS-CoV-2, Norovirus[ii], Pepper mild mottle virus (PMMoV)[iii] in wastewater.

China Resources

Since the announcement of the signing of an MoU in the RNS of 28 April 2021, complex commercial and legal negotiations and detailed due diligence between the parties has been underway. The scope of the original Joint Venture has been extended beyond what was originally contemplated. However, both parties are actively seeking to reach agreement as quickly as possible. The timeline of signing an agreement has been extended into Q4, 2021 due to the additional elements being added to the proposed agreement. See editor notes[iv] for further information.

Gerard Brandon, DeepVerge plc CEO commented:

"Today's AGM will of course discuss the outcome of 2020, which by itself was remarkable, but also focus on the future of each division within the Group. It is impossible to put in black and white what has, is, and will be achieved by the team at DeepVerge over the next 12-24 months, so I look forward, with Fin Murray, Chief of Operations, and Camillus Glover, Chief Financial Officer, to providing sufficient colour to allow you to see where the Company is heading."

The AGM presentation is open to all existing and potential shareholders. Questions can be submitted at any time during the live presentation.

Investors can sign up to Investor Meet Company for free via:

https://www.investormeetcompany.com/deepverge-plc/register-investor

A copy of the AGM presentation pdf will be available on the Company website investor page under the Company Publications tab to download www.deepverge.com/investors

Contacts

 
                                                   +44 (0) 7340 055 
 DeepVerge plc              Gerard Brandon, CEO     648 
 SPARK Advisory Partners 
  Limited                   Neil Baldwin/Andrew    +44 (0) 113 370 
  (Nominated Adviser)        Emmott                 8974 
 Turner Pope Investments    Andy Thacker/James     +44 (0) 20 3657 
  (TPI) Limited (Broker)     Pope                   0050 
 

About DeepVerge plc (www.deepverge.com)

DeepVerge is an environmental and life science group of companies that develops and applies AI and IoT technology to analytical instruments for the analysis and identification of bacteria, virus and toxins. Utilising artificial intelligent data analytics to scientifically prove the impact of skincare product claims on skin microbiome for most of the top 20 global cosmetic company clients and remotely detect and identify in real-time, dangerous pathogens in wastewater treatment plants, drinking water, rivers, lakes and reservoirs.

[i] Strathkelvin Instruments (www.strathkelvin.com) develops instruments based upon precision dissolved oxygen measurement, for use in the biomedical research field. This remains a significant part of the company's instrumentation range.

In 1998, the opportunity began to exploit the technology of a respirometer designed for biomedical research, for use in activated sludge respirometry. Initially the respirometry product development was directed towards toxicity testing, since there was no method anywhere in the world that would measure and calculate toxicity of wastewater to the actual activated sludge of the receiving works, in as little as 5-10 mins. Subsequently it became clear that, since respirometry is one of the 3 major processes in biological treatment (biodegradation, growth and respiration), by adding additional software, the respirometer could be used as a major tool in process control in treatment works.

[ii] Norovirus, sometimes referred to as the winter vomiting bug, is the most common cause of gastroenteritis. Norovirus results in about 685 million cases of disease and 200,000 deaths globally a year. The virus is usually spread by the faecal-oral route. This may be through contaminated food or water or person-to-person contact. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norovirus

[iii] Pepper mild mottle virus: In an article from the Applied and Environmental Microbiology Journal, it was found that PMMoV could be a potential indicator of faecal pollution. Their results demonstrate that PMMoV is widespread and abundant in wastewater from the United States, suggesting the utility of this virus as an indicator of human faecal pollution. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pepper_mild_mottle_virus

[iv] China Resources additional information: In January 2020 a report from the Chinese-language Polaris Environmental Network recorded that as of January 2020, China's 10,113 wastewater treatment plants covered an estimated 95% of municipalities and 20% of rural areas. China's 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-2025) outlines a strategy to invest an additional $18.5 billion in rural areas' wastewater treatment systems.

In January 2021 China published new guidelines for wastewater reuse, raising the proportion of sewage which must be treated to reuse standards to 25% by 2025. Further evidence of the country's ambition to transition from capacity expansion to a greater emphasis on treated effluent quality. As part of the effort, China also aims to construct and upgrade 80,000km of wastewater collection pipelines over the next five years.

To accommodate the proposed expansion to fit into a national program, laboratory and sales facilities in China are to be expanded in 2021/2022 where the Modern Water subsidiary already have facilities in place but intend to upgrade these to meet Chinese and worldwide production demands.

Embedding AI/data capability into new Modern Water monitoring equipment has begun within the DeepVerge Group. This enhanced capability is based on the Microtox PD optofluidic/AI development project which is now referencing field trials in wastewater sites in Europe.

Agreements with International Tier One Blue Chips provide integrated and secure hardware and software solutions as well as capability to scale roll outs at a provincial and national level outside of China. Similar requirements are necessary under majority owned technology partners in China.

Expanding the environmental equipment services market into a pandemic sensitive world with specific demand for Modern Water products and services means a change to production, sales, support and key management in the new Modern Water China. There is a need to decentralise and/or out-source. The need to increase manufacturing capabilities to accommodate growth in worldwide orders, and to secure larger orders is an imperative and detailing this is critical from the outset.

The Company believes that the correct partner in China provides the advantage of accelerated growth in a ready market and negotiating an agreement to achieve more than was originally anticipated by both parties is the reason for any delay in finalising the content of the agreement.

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July 26, 2021 02:00 ET (06:00 GMT)

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