Gene Silencing Oligonucleotide Technology to Target RNA
We are developing our GSOs to turn off the mRNA associated with disease causing genes. We have designed our GSOs to specifically address challenges associated with earlier generation antisense and RNA interference, or RNAi, technologies. Although currently used technologies to silence RNA have demonstrated the ability to inhibit the expression of disease-associated proteins, we believe that to reach their full therapeutic potential, gene silencing technologies need to achieve an improved therapeutic index with efficient systemic delivery without using a delivery technology, reduced immunotoxicity and increased potency. We have designed our GSOs to provide these attributes. For example, in preclinical studies, our GSOs have exerted gene-silencing activity in animals following systemic administration. Preclinical data also have shown that systemic delivery of GSOs targeted to the mRNA of apolipoprotein B and proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9 (PCSK9), which are proteins associated with cardiovascular diseases, resulted in reduced serum total cholesterol and low-density-lipoprotein cholesterol, in addition to reduced levels of the targeted mRNA and associated proteins. Additionally, in mouse models, systemic administration of GSOs showed significant specific gene-silencing activity with minimized induction of immune responses.
We are currently undertaking an analysis of oncology and rare disease indications for development of drug candidates from our GSO technology. Our key considerations in identifying disease indications in our GSO program include: strong evidence that the disease is caused by a specific protein; clear criteria to identify a target patient population; biomarkers for early assessment of clinical proof-of-concept; a targeted therapeutic mechanism for action; and unmet medical need to allow for a rapid development path to approval. We are planning to conduct disease model studies and begin IND-enabling development programs in each of the first two disease indications selected for further development in our GSO program in the second half of 2015.
GSO Targeting PCSK9
• Systemic delivery of GSO achieves sustained lowering of
PCSK9 mRNA and cholesterol
• Knock down effect of GSO is specific for target mRNA
• Decrease in PCSK9 mRNA correlates with increase in LDL-R
• GSO regimen can be modulated to achieve stable and
prolonged lowering of cholesterol
Monday March 9, 2015, 4:35pm PDT
At this year’s PDAC conference in Toronto, Ryan Castilloux, founding director and industry analyst at Adamas Intelligence, took a few minutes to share his thoughts on the rare earths market in 2015.
Castilloux touched on his predictions for rare earths prices, specifically giving his thoughts on several heavy rare earths prices. Specifically, he stated that his predictions for increases in dysprosium prices and in terbium prices are holding up well so far in 2015 and added that the gap is closing between neodymium prices and praseodymium prices. He cited increased demand from magnet manufacturers as one of the drivers behind those gains.
The analyst also talked about rare earths demand and rare earths companies outside of China, admonishing end users to get more serious about securing a conflict-free rare earths supply.
“I believe that end users need to collectively embrace a long-term view on sourcing rare earth supplies,” he said. “They need to align with producers that are mining and processing rare earths in a manner that does not conflict with the corporate, social and environmental standards that these big end users themselves promote.”
China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) released earlier this week a statement titled “Outline Plan of Work 2015 For the Transformational Development of Raw Materials Industry”. in it, they make a pledge to adopt a series of new policies and measures to further strengthen its control over the country’s rare earths sector in 2015. Beijing is still tightening its stranglehold on the mining of rare earth metals essential for the manufacture of high-tech products from smart phones to wind turbines and military missiles. Within the outlined plan, MIIT for the first time since the WTO ruling reveals how China’s new rare earth policies will be unveiled.
“To regulate the rare earth exports, the state will formulate and carry out the mandatory national standards on the export for rare-earth products; which will include regulations on packing, transportation, symbol and storage,” according to the MIIT statement.
The ministry said that China will establish a tracking and monitoring system for the rare earth supply chain that will extend from the producers to the exporters. The government will continue to strictly control volumes for both rare earth mining and production volumes, as well as to control the number of new projects related to rare earth development, smelting, and separating. Of interest, is that they will not approve projects submitted by enterprises beyond the six rare earth groups.
Under the outline plan, the ministry also said that China will accelerate the consolidation of the rare earth sector, while completing the integration of all rare earth mines and smelting and separating plants into six large state-owned groups before the end of 2015. The move aims to better manage the country’s rare earth resources and companies outside of the six large groups will be removed.
Specialized rare earth regulations are intended to be carried out as quickly as possible. These stringent guidelines will include production guidance as the ministry reinforced that the authorities will continue to crack down on illegal rare earth mining, production, market circulation and smuggling. Government official’s will investigate and punish anyone found involved in corruption surrounding the trade and sales of illegal rare earths.
The MIIT also stressed that the government will accelerate the implementation of a reform plan of resource tax for rare earth, tungsten and molybdenum.
China will encourage the developments of E-commerce for rare earths and some other raw materials as they vigorously develop high-end rare earth applications. “The government is supporting those rare earth companies that are prioritizing research and development of new products and technologies in the fields of new energy vehicles, industrial robots and atmospheric pollution prevention.
China’s new rare earth policies are shifting in favor the country’s six large state-owned groups, which include: China Northern Rare Earth Group High-Tech Co Ltd ( Inner Mongolia Baotou Steel Rare-Earth Hi-Tech Company), Aluminum Corp of China, Xiamen Tungsten Company, China Minmetals Corporation, Ganzhou Rare Earth Group, and Guangdong Rare Earth Group. Baotou Economic and Information Technology Commission said on its website that China Northern Rare Earth Group has obtained 29,750 tons (REO) of rare earth mining quotas and 25,960 tons of rare earth smelting and separating production quotas from the MIIT’s first batch of quotas in 2015, representing a 4,750 tons and a 4,690 tons increase from the same period in 2014.
Rare earth prices in the Chinese market have previously been threatened by illegal mining and trading. The government’s new rare earth policies and measures, especially in reforming the rare earth resource tax and in the increasing investigation and follow-through in punishing illegal rare earth activities is intended to get rare earth pricing under control.
so demand is strong according to Metal Pages
The era of rare earth elements export quotas and tariffs in China will soon be over and that could ultimately mean a new era of higher prices for REEs inside China, says Gareth Hatch, founding principal of Technology Metals Research and president of Innovation Metals Corp. Chinese REE producers are now subject to much higher environmental standards, which could further level the playing field for non-Chinese REE producers. In this interview with The Mining Report, Hatch discusses some of the latest REE processing technologies, companies with promising REE projects and other companies looking to produce battery-grade graphite.
The Mining Report: In early January on your Technology Metals Research blog you wrote, "China is still as much in charge of its rare earth elements (REE) supply as it ever was," after China abolished export quotas in favor of an export licensing system. What is the Chinese government's goal here?
Gareth Hatch: It's twofold. One is to get control of its entire REE supply chain, but it's also about generating more revenue. China is going to abolish REE export tariffs, which is a requirement of the recent World Trade Organization (WTO) ruling, and that will happen in May. By doing so, China is saying, "We'll sort of play by the WTO rules." But Chinese officials are now talking about replacing tariffs with a value-added resource tax.
Another noteworthy aspect of these measures is that a considerable percentage of REE exports from China are smuggled out of the country and that means lost tax revenues. China is trying to address those leaks. The new system requires that a license be issued on a shipment-by-shipment basis, but it's not quite clear yet what set of rules and regulations are applied internally or what paperwork is required. That was likely reflected in the lower-than-expected REE export numbers in January.
TMR: There's also some government-mandated consolidation happening in China's REE space. What is happening and why are those changes important?
GH: This has been going on for well over a year. Chinese authorities are consolidating the industry into six conglomerates, referred to as the "five plus one." The one is the large entity in northern China that used to be Baosteel, now called China Northern Rare Earth Group, which controls most of the country's light rare earth production. There are five other entities into which companies are tucked or subsumed. Basically, it's to gain further control of the industry by making the managers of the largest companies responsible for the activities of the companies further down the supply chain.
In the last year China has closed many obsolete facilities in an effort to modernize and improve efficiency, as well as reduce illegal mining and smuggling. China is putting the groundwork in place to produce these materials, critical materials, in a way that prepares for higher prices. I would argue it's laid the groundwork for the long-term survival and prosperity of the Chinese rare earth industry in an era when pollution and environmental issues are growing more significant there.
TMR: What's next?
GH: The biggest question is: What happens as we transition away from a tariff, which until May could be anything from 15% to 25% on top of normal Chinese prices, to a value-added resource tax? All things being equal, prices of REE exports should stay about the same—it's the internal price that will go up because those end-users weren't used to paying that tax. And what will the impact of that be?
Once that's smoothed out, all signs are that prices will start to increase somewhat, but REE prices should in theory be the same whether you're using them in China or you're using them outside, with perhaps one or two exceptions like dysprosium and terbium. The rare earth industry in China is rapidly turning into supply chains that produce at a much higher standard for pollution and environmental control, and that means that there's also a potentially level playing field.
TMR: What's the likely impact on rare earth equities of these measures committed to by the Chinese government?
GH: There are two potential impacts, both of which, for companies trying to develop capacity outside of China, work in their favor. One, any time prices are likely to increase there are two potential reactions. If the prices go crazy—and we witnessed that in 2010–2011—demand goes down. But if prices go to a level just above the cost of production where there's a floor on the price that takes into account environmentally sound processing, then it becomes easier in theory to compete if you're going to produce REE in an environmentally sustainable manner. This should benefit the two projects that are up and running outside of China and the others that investors are most interested in.
Then there is the issue of internal Chinese demand. Are the Chinese GDP growth numbers real? Even the most conservative predictions suggest that there will continue to be increased demand for the high-tech consumer goods that require REEs. The theory is that demand for high-tech goods will increase REE demand inside of China, which may affect the ability to source REEs outside of China. For the first time in a couple of years, the picture looks more rosy if you're in the rare earth sector outside of China.
TMR: Do you see a day when China will be a net importer of rare earths?
GH: It's possible for certain rare earths. And there is a possibility that companies outside of China could produce REEs at prices that compete with the Chinese. One sign of that shift happened when Tantalus Rare Earths AG (TEATF:OTC; TAEN:GR) announced a joint venture with Shenghe Resources Holding Co. Ltd., a Chinese rare earth company with the third largest mine in China. Tantalus has a REE project in Madagascar and Shenghe basically plans to buy concentrate from that future mine to produce oxides in China because that could be more strategically advantageous than continuing to mine REE deposits in China.
TMR: China is obviously the biggest ongoing narrative in the REE space, but another key issue is processing and processing costs. Are there two or three promising processing technologies that you can tell us about?
GH: There have certainly been announcements in the last several months relating to new processes that are being evaluated to separate rare earths. Ucore Rare Metals Inc. (UCU:TSX.V; UURAF:OTCQX) is working with a company in the U.S. on something called Molecular Recognition Technology (MRT), which purports to selectively home in on rare earths in solution and get them out without solvent extraction. I'm not a fan of 'science via press release.' It remains to be seen how it all works.
Another one is Texas Rare Earth Resources Corp. (TRER:OTCQX), which is trying to use something called continuous ion exchange. That is a combination of the well-established ion exchange columns on a continuous processing basis—with the goal of not having to do laborious solvent extraction. And Rare Element Resources Ltd. (RES:TSX; REE:NYSE.MKT) appears to have developed a process that produces high-purity rare earth concentrates with no thorium or other deleterious elements. The purity is as high as four or five nines (99.99-99.999%), which is really quite remarkable.
TMR: Your company, Technology Metals Research, is working with the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) on processing technologies. Please tell us about that.
GH: Technology Metals Research is overseeing a project that's being funded by the Army Research Laboratory, which is part of the DOD. My other company, Innovation Metals, is a project participant and has a lab-scale solvent-extraction pilot plant in operation in the outskirts of Toronto, Canada, using proven technology and process-flow diagrams to optimize processes for the separation of heavy rare earth concentrates. The project is also looking at three new processes, two of which are based on the same chemistry as solvent extraction but with reaction rates that are orders of magnitude greater than existing methods.
The initial results are promising; these processes could considerably speed up processing, which would ultimately reduce the hardware footprint and capital costs for a commercial facility. The third process uses biology as a means of producing rare earths. The idea is to use biological entities to precipitate pure metals and oxides.
TMR: Are there plans to commercialize this technology?
GH: Yes, commercialization is the goal. The first round of funding is to verify the proof of concepts and compare them to the solvent extraction that Innovation Metals Corp. is doing. The funding from the Army Research Lab is part of an overall initiative to help develop a domestic supply chain for critical rare earths. It's no good having mines in the U.S. or Canada producing rare earths if you can't turn them into useful products here.
TMR: Technology Metals Research maintains the Advanced Rare Earth Projects Index. What are some companies on that index with news worth sharing?
GH: Tasman Metals Ltd.'s (TSM:TSX.V; TAS:NYSE.MKT; TASXF:OTCPK; T61:FSE) Norra Kärr deposit in Sweden recently completed a prefeasibility study. It's a nice deposit with a great strategic location—it's clearly the best REE deposit in Europe. At the end of the day you need cold hard cash to advance projects. Europe will show its interest by investing in the project.
A chart of Value Metrics for Advance Rare Earth Projects is available here.
TMR: What are some other companies with news?
GH: Northern Minerals Ltd. (NTU:ASX) recently received its environmental permits for the Browns Range deposit in Australia and has started a bankable feasibility study there; it just announced a nearly $50M financing deal to make that happen.
Namibia Rare Earths Inc. (NRE:TSX; NMREF:OTCQX) recently published its first preliminary economic assessment (PEA) for the Lofdal REE project in Namibia. I helped put together the market study for that report. Northern Minerals and Namibia Rare Earths have two projects with some of the highest percentages of HREEs. Both projects are hosted in xenotime mineralization, which has relatively straightforward metallurgy.
TMR: Does the relatively high distribution of HREEs in those respective deposits make it easier for those companies to raise money for development?
GH: It makes it easier to get their feet in the door, but the overall grade is important. If there is a lot of dysprosium and terbium in a xenotime deposit, that is very attractive but you can't just focus on that. Xenotime, eudialyte or other minerals that contain heavy rare earths tend to be low-grade deposits. That then becomes an issue of mining and production, and the cost and challenges associated with that. You have to look at factors like overall grade, recovery rates and costs of infrastructure.
TMR: You helped complete the market study for the Lofdal PEA. What are your thoughts on that project?
GH: Lofdal has great rare earth distribution and simple mineralogy. It still needs some infrastructure but it has great potential. One thing I would look for Namibia Rare Earths to do is to eventually expand the size of the mineral resource.
TMR: Any others?
GH: Another company on the index is Commerce Resources Corp. (CCE:TSX.V; D7H:FSE; CMRZF:OTCQX), which is operating a mini pilot plant to process a bulk sample from the Ashram REE deposit in Quebec. Commerce has basically developed a process to produce concentrate with a relatively high concentration of REEs. Ideally, the company would need to scale up and show that it can do it on at least a semi-continuous basis with a much larger sample, which means being exposed to more variability. The company is trying to confirm that it has a process that works to produce a viable mineral concentrate. It's an important part of any project in order to move it forward.
TMR: You mentioned Ucore earlier. It has a PEA on the Bokan Mountain project in Alaska. What's the next step?
GH: Its PEA is way out of date on pricing and it's due for an update. Ucore has started on a feasibility study and it appears that the company will have financial support from the Alaskan government for at least part of the costs. But any decision on financing will rely on a comprehensive feasibility study report. Ucore is hoping to get that feasibility study done this year.
TMR: Does it have a leg up on other REE developers given the support from the Alaskan government?
GH: There are significant benefits but we have to be clear as to what that support is. The Alaskan government's commitment of $145 million hinges on the outcome of the feasibility study. Although the potential funding is conditional, it's a significant plus for the project and other investors will see that as a positive. Of course, Ucore has excellent support from Senator Lisa Murkowski, who is now chair of the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy & Natural Resources.
TMR: What about other projects in Australia?
GH: Alkane Resources Ltd. (ALK:ASX; ANLKY:OTCQX;), which is also in the index, is funding the Dubbo Zirconia project with nearby gold production. It's a great idea. I had the chance to visit the deposit and demo plant in Australia a few years ago. I've always liked that project from a technical point of view. Alkane has the process locked in and it knows exactly what it needs to do. If you have another project that can generate cash flow that's a great thing, and Alkane's Tomingley gold project has been operating very well, but the Dubbo project still needs more money than what Tomingley alone can generate. Ultimately there are very few junior mining companies in the REE sector that are generating revenues. I think that's a plus. It's ready to go once Alkane has the financing.
TMR: What's the timeline for getting Dubbo permitted?
GH: Alkane was recently informed by the local plan assessment commission that the environmental permits have been approved, subject to the usual conditions. I am not aware of any major issues. Dubbo will produce not just rare earths, but zirconium and niobium, so there's a medley of metals. Alkane will not only rely on REEs to generate revenue.
TMR: Let's switch gears to graphite, and graphene in particular, which is getting attention in the mainstream media. What is real and what is hype?
GH: I'm a material scientist by training. I've been aware of graphene since it was first produced at the University of Manchester in the U.K., close to where I grew up. Graphene definitely holds a lot of promise. Some of the hype is justified in light of the things that you can do with this stuff, but it boils down to how do you produce this material at a reasonable cost.
Second, we have to remember that it doesn't take a lot of graphite to make graphene into the light-technology items people are talking about. A little graphene goes a long way. This isn't a story of tens or hundreds of thousands of tons of graphite being turned into graphene so much as it is what is the technology sector willing to do with it at various price points. As you lower the cost of producing it in bulk, what windows will open? It is sometimes hard to evaluate exactly what progress the folks working on the production side are making. I take the news reports with a pinch of salt, but the promise is definitely there if we can make it at a reasonable price.
TMR: What are some companies with what you would consider the most advanced graphite projects?
GH: There's a handful that I follow on our Advanced Graphite Projects Index. Names that come to mind include Northern Graphite Corporation (NGC:TSX.V; NGPHF:OTCQX) in Canada with the Bissett Creek deposit and Focus Graphite Inc. (FMS:TSX.V; FCSMF:OTCQX; FKC:FSE) with the Lac Knife deposit In Quebec. These companies are at the feasibility study level. They're working to determine if it is possible to turn the material from their respective projects into battery-grade graphite.
Other names that I keep track of are Mason Graphite Inc. (LLG:TSX.V; MGPHF:OTCQX) with the Lac Guéret graphite project in Quebec. I recently visited Canada Carbon Inc.'s (CCB:TSX.V) Miller vein graphite project in Québec but it's not on our index because it does not have an NI 43-101-guided mineral resource estimate yet.
We probably have to keep an eye on what Zenyatta Ventures Ltd. (ZEN:TSX.V) is doing with its Albany deposit in Ontario. And the last one I'll mention is Graphite One Resources Inc. (GPH:TSX.V), which has the Graphite Creek deposit in Alaska. It's a large deposit and if it can develop a good quality project in Alaska, it could open the door for the state government and others to help develop it.
TMR: Focus Graphite bills itself as the most advanced battery-grade graphite project in North America. Are lithium-ion batteries and other power cells driving investment in this space?
GH: Yes, the driver here is energy storage. There's been a lot of buzz since Tesla Motors Inc. (TSLA:NASDAQ) announced its plan to build a "Gigafactory" for the production of a variety of parts and components including the lithium-ion batteries required to power its vehicles and others. Tesla's stated goal is to source all of its materials from North America. The production of hundreds of thousands of vehicles per year means that we are going to build batteries using anodes that contain graphite.
The questions is: Will it be natural graphite or synthetic? If companies can demonstrate that they can consistently deliver a product that meets Tesla's needs at a cost that is competitive to synthetic graphite, they may have a winning graphite project. That immediately puts the focus on the most advanced projects in North America. Focus Graphite is one of those companies. If it can scale up and do what it says it can do, it could certainly be a contender.
TMR: 2015 will be remembered as the year of what in the REE space?
GH: This may be the year of innovative processes. I think we'll really start to see what's real and what isn't this year in REE processing. Perhaps a technology will be established as a game-changer.
The other thing would be the reemergence of a stronger, leaner Chinese REE sector. The REE industry in China for the last two or three years has been all about export quotas and tariffs. But this unprecedented consolidation and coordination is something to keep an eye on because it will affect potential supply in ways that are positive for folks with an interest in rare earth projects outside of China.
TMR: Thank you for your insights, Gareth.
Gareth Hatch is a founding principal of Technology Metals Research LLC, providing market intelligence and analysis on the supply chain for rare earths and other critical materials. He is also president of Innovation Metals Corp., a private Canadian company focused on the creation of centralized rare-earth separation facilities in North America.
For several years, Hatch was director of technology at Dexter Magnetic Technologies. He holds five U.S. patents on a variety of magnetic devices. A two-time graduate of the University of Birmingham in the U.K., Hatch has a Bachelor of Engineering with Honours in materials science and technology and a Ph.D. in metallurgy and materials, focused on rare earth permanent-magnet alloys. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Materials, Minerals & Mining, a Fellow of the Institution of Engineering & Technology, a Chartered Engineer and a senior member of the IEEE. Hatch is also a member of the Strategic Materials Advisory Council.
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Source: Brian Sylvester of The Mining Report
1) Brian Sylvester conducted this interview for Streetwise Reports LLC, publisher of The Gold Report, The Energy Report, The Life Sciences Report and The Mining Report, and provides services to Streetwise Reports as an independent contractor. He owns, or his family owns, shares of the following companies mentioned in this interview: None.
2) The following companies mentioned in the interview are sponsors of Streetwise Reports: Alkane Resources Ltd., Commerce Resources Corp., Focus Graphite Inc., Mason Graphite Inc. and Namibia Rare Earths Inc. The companies mentioned in this interview were not involved in any aspect of the interview preparation or post-interview editing so the expert could speak independently about the sector. Streetwise Reports does not accept stock in exchange for its services.
3) Gareth Hatch: I own, or my family owns, shares of the following companies mentioned in this interview: Technology Metals Research and Innovation Metals Corp. I personally am, or my family is, paid by the following companies mentioned in this interview: Technology Metals Research and Innovation Metals Corp. My company has a financial relationship with the following companies mentioned in this interview: None. I was not paid by Streetwise Reports for participating in this interview. Comments and opinions expressed are my own comments and opinions. I determined and had final say over which companies would be included in the interview based on my research, understanding of the sector and interview theme. I had the opportunity to review the interview for accuracy as of the date of the interview and am responsible for the content of the interview.
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As Molycorp, Lynas Corp Stock Rises, RE Price Index Jumps 7%, Showing New Life
by Jeff Yoders on March 6, 2015
Style: Market Analysis Category: Metal Prices, MetalMiner IndX, Minor Metals, Premium
Showing life that hasn’t been seen since last July, the Rare Earths MMI® jumped in March to a value of 28, an increase of 7.7% over its 26 score in February. The flat-to-down market has risen five points from 23 in the last 3 months.
China opening the floodgates by ending rare earth export quotas has allowed end-users to purchase more computers, industrial magnets, cellular phones and other rare earths-powered products. China controls 90% of the not-so-rare elements, but the rally seems to be based on more than just China. There are new mines meeting demand capacity in India and a healthy Australian rare earths industry contributing, as well.
Here in the US, Molycorp stock surged in price in February, although it’s still hovering around a dollar per share. The struggling RE miner seems to have at least shelved restructuring talks that started earlier this year. The company has doubled production at its Mountain Pass, Calif., facility, reporting that in Q4 2014 it completed 1,328 metric tons of rare earth oxide equivalent production. That compares to 1,034 mt in Q4 of 2013 and 691 mt in Q3 of 2014. Full year 2014 production totaled 4,785 mt, compared to 3,473 mt in 2013.
Lynas Corp. saw a similar stock price jump last month.
The end of China’s export quotas is, of course, still the biggest story with REs. Last month China outlawed the licensing process for new RE exporters and most agreed it was not a process that will exclude smaller miners. The markets reacted favorably to China’s Ministry of Commerce’s (MOFCOM) process and recent speeches about REs.
The role of citric acid in the flotation separation of rare earth from the silicates
No effect of citric acid on the separation of REE from silicates without Al3+.
The reduction of REE recovery caused by Al3+ was reduced by citric acid.
Grains reporting to the tailings have less Al on their surface after citric acid addition.
SiO2 species on the surface of the grains in the tailings with citric acid is diminished.
The Nechalacho project is the most advanced large heavy rare earth elements (HREE) project outside of China. Open circuit and locked cycle flotation tests along with pilot plant testing of rare earth elements (REE) concentration from the host rocks are accomplished with collectors of alkyl phosphates and the modifier of citric acid. In this study, the function of citric acid in the separation of rare metals against silicates is investigated by a combination of micro-flotation tests and time of flight secondary ion mass spectrometry (ToF-SIMS) surface chemical analysis. It was observed that there was little effect of citric acid on the REE recovery in the micro-flotation tests conditioned with de-ionized water (DIW). To evaluate the flotation response with excess secondary ions in the pulp, micro-flotation tests were performed to look at changes in recovery as a result of adding Al ions and the subsequent presence of citric acid. The results from three micro-flotation tests (DIW, DIW with the addition of 100 mg/L Al and DIW + 100 mg/L Al and 500 g/t citric acid) revealed that the addition of Al ions led to a decrease of REE grade, a lower REE minerals recovery and/or an unexpected promotion of silicates to the concentrate. Citric acid reduced the negative effect generated by the Al ions in the flotation, which was shown by an improvement in REE grade. ToF-SIMS surface analysis of undifferentiated grains from the tests with and without citric acid revealed that grains reporting to the concentrate are doing so in response to collector attachment in combination with having more secondary Al on their surface. Citric acid may partially form aqueous soluble metal–ligand complexes resulting in less Al ions on the grains surface, which were rejected to the tailings. Citric acid also may form chelation competing for adsorption on gangue minerals, resulting in a diminished effectiveness of the activation site.
Previous investigations on the Nechalacho project indicated that the separation of rare earth minerals from oxide and silicate gangue minerals has been successfully carried out by flotation. The following flotation concentration recoveries have been reported: 90% of the zirconium oxide, 69% of the niobium oxide and 63% of the tantalum oxide (Cox et al., 2010). As part of the project, micro-flotation tests were conducted on a feed sample in order to examine factors affecting stream partitioning. SEM–EDX was performed to evaluate variability in grain composition between streams (concentrate and tailings). The results showed that REE containing grains are tentatively identified as monazite, allenite and synchysite. Other minerals examined include zircon and pyrite, along with gangue aluminosilicate phases. The SEM/EDX evaluation indicated that the micro-flotation separation was very successful, as almost no REE grains were identified in the tailings samples (Chehreh Chelgani et al., 2013). However, the reagent scheme used in that micro-flotation was relatively complex and at plant concentration levels. Although reagent signal intensity discrimination on test stream mineral surfaces was observed by the TOF-SIMS analysis, the details of the differences in surface species, particularly related to potential activation (or depression) of the examined mineral phases, is still not clear.
One of the organic acids used in previous investigations was citric acid, which is a relatively common chelating agent employed in a variety of industries. It forms soluble, weakly bound complexes with metal ions, presumably by means of its carboxylate groups. Liu and Zhang (2000) found that citric acid could effectively remove Ca2+ from chalcopyrite surfaces to increase the selectivity of flotation separation between chalcopyrite and galena using dextrin. Liu and Liu (2004) reported that the role of citric acid in the depression of sulphide minerals seemed to be that of complexation of the copper ions, thus lowering their activity to catalyze the oxidation of thioglycollic acid. Gan et al. (2009) observed that the bitumen-quartz coagulation caused by hydrolysable multivalent metal cations (Fe3+, Mg2+, Ca2+) was reduced or prevented by citric acid. It was summarised that activation of metal ions on flotation of gangue minerals can be reduced through formation of complexes with citric acid. If the mechanism is correct, theoretically EDTA should work for removing multivalent metal ions off gangue mineral surface, thereby reducing their potential for flotation and recovery. A reference reporting on the flotation of dolomite however showed that citric acid functions in a manner different from that of EDTA (Zheng and Smith, 1997). The carboxylate groups of citric acid can chemically adsorb onto the metal active points of the mineral surfaces (dolomite in this reference). It was indicated that citric acid could form chelation complexes with the Ca and Mg atoms on the mineral surface blocking activation sites for collector attachment. There is lots of interest to know how citric acid works as a modifier for flotation separation of rare earth against gangue minerals.
This research is a systematic study aimed at elucidating the role of citric acid in flotation separation of rare earth minerals from silicates. Micro-flotation testing measured the effect of citric acid in the presence and absence of metal ions (Al3+) in the pulp on the recovery of rare earth. Surface chemical analyses by ToF-SIMS were performed to reveal the relative difference in reagent(s) on grain surfaces from test stream products.
2. Experimental methodology
2.1. Minerals and reagents
A rare earth sample was obtained from Avalon Rare Metals Inc, which had been crushed to a size fraction of −2 mm when received. The micro-flotation feed was prepared in lab as follows: the as received sample was sieved, the coarse fraction (+200 mesh, 75 μm) was processed in a mild steel ball mill. The sieved fine fraction (−200 mesh,
Rosetta Genomics Ltd. (USA) (NASDAQ:ROSG): 3 analysts have set the short term price target of Rosetta Genomics Ltd. (USA) (NASDAQ:ROSG) at $8.83. The standard deviation of short term price target has been estimated at $4.25, implying that the actual price may fluctuate by this value. The higher and the lower price estimates are $ 12 and $4 respectively.
Rosetta Genomics Ltd. (USA) (NASDAQ:ROSG) stated gains of 6,782 shares or 11% in the short interest. The short interest registered from 61,946 on January 15,2015 to 68,728 on January 30,2015. In terms of floated shares, the shorted positions stood at 0.6%. The stock has been averaging 88,243 shares daily in trading and would need 1 days to cover the shorts.
Rosetta Genomics Ltd. (USA) (NASDAQ:ROSG) slipped 6.08% or 0.22 points in daily trade. The first trade was executed at $3.54 and the stock saw an intraday high of $3.73. In a clear sign of sustained selling, the price closed at $3.38, which was also the lowest point of the day. Closing at the lowest point of the day is a big negative for the stock and more losses may follow todays dismal session. The total number of shares exchanging hands stood at 828,013. The 52-week high of the company is registered $6.69 and its latest market cap is $40 million.
Rosetta Genomics Ltd. is seeking to develop and commercialize new diagnostic products based on a discovered group of genes known as microRNAs. The Company has established a clinical laboratory improvement amendment (CLIA)-certified laboratory in Philadelphia, which enables it to commercialize its own diagnostic tests applying its microRNA technology. Its Rosetta Cancer Origin Test is its second-generation microRNA-based diagnostic for the identification of the primary site of metastatic cancer, specifically metastatic cancer of unknown primary (CUP). Rosetta Mesothelioma Test leverages microRNAs high-specificity as biomarkers to differentiate mesothelioma, a cancer connected to asbestos exposure and other risk factors, from other carcinomas in the lung and pleura, a medically and legally important differential diagnosis
The Next Big Mover From the Genetic Diagnostic Space Is... (ROSG, GENE, RGDX)
Genetic Technologies Limited (NASDAQ:GENE) and Rosetta Genomics Ltd. (NASDAQ:ROSG) have been two red hot small cap stocks in the genetic testing space lately, but it's time for Response Genetics, Inc. (NASDAQ:RGDX) to shine.
By James E. Brumley
Feb 17, 2015 7:46:00 AM PST | 12 View(s) | No Comment(s)
With bigger and better-known genetics-oriented small cap stocks like like Genetic Technologies Limited (NASDAQ:GENE) or Rosetta Genomics Ltd. (NASDAQ:ROSG) on the radar, it's surprising to find a name like Response Genetics, Inc. (NASDAQ:RGDX) has even managed to garnet any attention at all, let alone drop some key bullish hints. In the world of biopharma though, anything can happen, because it's the size of the idea and not always the size of the company that draws a crowd.
For the unfamiliar, Response Genetics is a cancer-diagnostics company that relies on molecular-level gene testing. Its ResponseDX line of testing can identify gastric, breast, thyroid, brain, and melanoma cancers using gene-sequencing technologies.
In that light it somewhat competes with Genetic Technologies Limited... the maker of the BREVAgen test, which assesses risk of breast cancer for a particular patient. Rosetta Genomics is an even more direct competitor, in that it now offers a cancer-origin test not unlike the one being offered by RGDX. Still, no two of these companies are quite alike, and all of these small cap stocks within the biotech world are more than different enough to make one more compelling than another at various points in time, depending on what's happening with/for each company at any particular time.
That being said, what makes RGDX more compelling than ROSG or GENE at this time has nothing to do with their respective companies and everything to do with their charts. See, RGDX is knocking on the door of a breakout.
Take a look at the daily chart of Response Genetics, Inc. below. At first glance it just looks volatile. The longer one looks at this chart, however, the clearer the bullish clues become. One of the biggest is the way shares pushed up and off of the converged (at 41 cents) 20-day and 50-day moving averages to give us the current breakout effort, which just so happens to have carried RGDX past the critical 100-day moving average line (gray).
Zooming out to a weekly chart of Response Genetics, Inc. reveals even more bullish clues, the biggest of which is the break above a long-standing falling resistance line (red) currently at 45 cents. What you can also see more clearly in this timeframe, however, is how big of a deal it is that RGDX hurdled the 100-day moving average line (gray). It had been a ceiling several times since early 2014.
For traders comfortable with speculating on small cap stocks, what we have right now may well be enough to go ahead and take a shot on this ticker. For those less comfortable with risk, however, it may be wise to wait for RGDX to clear the 200-day moving average line (green) at 68 cents before pulling the trigger. The upside potential is pretty big either way.
None of this is to say that other small cap stocks in the genetic testing space -- names like the aforementioned Genetic Technologies Limited or Rosetta Genomics Ltd. -- aren't worth stocks. From a risk/reward perspective though, Response Genetics, Inc. is the least overbought of all of them.
New York's law, unlike #$%$ laws in other states, requires companies to hire union workers for their dispensaries and production facilities.
Then there is the Federal challenge. Federal law prohibits the sale and possession of marijuana. A dichotomy exists where it's legal for state purposes and illegal for federal purposes.
Because banks and credit-card companies are federally regulated, the purchase and sale of cannabis has so far been a cash business. A #$%$ patient in New York State will almost certainly have to pay for the drug with cash.
Banking institutions and credit card companies usually won't allow customers to pay for marijuana with their cards, and usually don't allow businesses to deposit marijuana revenues at their branches, because it could be prosecuted as money-laundering.
While it is viewed as unlikely, a grower could be prosecuted by the federal government.
In fact, the federal government has given conflicting statements on the matter.
In 2009, U.S. Deputy Attorney General David Ogden issued a memo to U.S. attorneys that said they didn't have to prosecute marijuana companies in states where the drug had been legalized.
In 2011, Deputy U.S. Attorney General James M. Cole issued a memorandum saying the 2009 memo was not intended to shield marijuana dispensaries from federal enforcement actions or prosecutions.
In February 2014, U.S. Attorney Eric Holder wrote a memo saying banks could work with marijuana industries, without fear of being prosecuted for money laundering.
Shortly afterward, the Justice Department's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network told banks the choice of whether or not to work with marijuana businesses was up to them, but warned them they would still be required to file "suspicious activity reports" to the federal government of any activity that could be a violation of federal law, including activity involving marijuana.
Under a new presidential administration and new attorney general, prosecutors could start aggressively coming after marijuana businesses.
In other states, like Colorado, marijuana businesses pay state and federal taxes in cash.
While New York State is levying a 7 percent excise tax on gross marijuana income, marijuana retailers are also going to have to pay taxes to the federal government.
Reportedly the Internal Revenue Service requires tax payments from marijuana businesses, but won't allow the companies to deduct their business expenses when filing returns, under tax regulations designed to prevent drug dealers from exploiting the tax code.
#$%$ manufacturers will have to negotiate with labor unions in New York to use organized union workers in their facilities. This raises the question of how the businesses will deal with income tax deductions and Social Security payments to the I.R.S.
The manufacturers can't go the a local I.R.S. agency branch with cash, because new rules implemented at the federal level require employers to deduct those expenses electronically.
But by degrees these issues will be worked out.
The question of the moment is who will be selected to grow and will Niagara County reap a benefit?
The state health department has a lot of leeway to pick the five companies that will end up with lucrative marijuana manufacturing licenses.
With so few licenses available for New York State manufacturers, expect fierce competition from companies hoping to do business here, despite the burden of heavy regulations.
Besides Lewiston Greenhouse LLC, companies and individuals reportedly planning on making an application or considering it, are:
Terra Tech, a California-based publicly traded agricultural company.
Dean Petkanas a chief financial officer at Stratton Oakmont who ran a penny-stock boiler room operation depicted in "The Wolf of Wall Street".
High Times Magazine, which is reportedly launching a private equity fund to invest in marijuana
Richard Yost, who operates Ideal 420 Soil, which sells soil and other products to marijuana growers.
Republican Assemblyman Steve Katz, a veterinarian.
Privateer Holdings Inc., a Seattle company that invests in #$%$.
MJ Freeway, a software company geared toward businesses who operate marijuana businesses.
Great Lakes Medicinals.
PalliaTech Inc., a marijuana manufacturer.
Fioria Franco LLC, based in Clarence.
North Country Natural Solutions which plans to grow #$%$ in a vacant 60,000-square-foor factory in the town of Bombay, a Franklin County town with a population of 1,357.
Gaia Plant-Based Medicine, which grows marijuana in Colorado. Gaia, which recently changed its name to Mindful, provided input to state legislators, helped them draft New York's #$%$ law and lobbied for its passage.
Affinor Growers, a publicly traded Canadian company that grows #$%$ in Washington.
Demand for #$%$ in Nevada is expected to double this year as dispensaries open and state lawmakers discuss potential patchwork legislation for the budding industry.
For starters, the number of #$%$ cardholders in Washoe County jumped more than 65 percent in 2014.
"One thing we have been able to do is look at other states when they have gone to availability of establishments for #$%$," said Pam Graber, information and education officer for Nevada's #$%$ program. "If Nevada performs as other states have, then our numbers will continue to go up as awareness rises."
Dispensary operators, picked by the state, are in the process of rolling out their businesses now. It's only a matter of time before the first of 65 statewide dispensaries opens and more people start asking their doctors about #$%$, Graber said.
"We think Nevada is going to be one of the largest markets in the country," said Derek Peterson, CEO of Terra Tech with one dispensary in Reno. "We want to make certain that our production and cultivation facility is ready for full production and has the ability to produce multiple strains and product offerings for potential patients."
At the beginning of last year, there were 588 Washoe County residents with #$%$ cards. At the end of the year, 975 residents were cardholders.
In Clark County, cardholders jumped from 3,544 to 5,833 in 2014. Statewide, 8,055 Nevadans were #$%$ cardholders.
"We're not surprised at all by these numbers," said Joe Brezny, spokesman the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana like Alcohol in Nevada. "I would expect 15 to 20 thousand patients in Nevada within twelve months of dispensaries opening."
With the opening of dispensaries, Nevadans obtaining #$%$ cards through doctor prescription no longer need to grow on their own, which is expected to add to the growth in cardholders.
That's because baby-boomers once accepting of marijuana, beginning to feel the effects of old age, are beginning to open to the option, Brezny said.
"People 50 to 65 who smoked in college — never saw anything wrong with it — think it will help ailments," he said. "What we are hearing over and over is that finally this law makes sense. It's finally a way to follow the rules and get medicine."
Marijuana at the Legislature
Amid the growth in the #$%$ industry is ongoing litigation in Clark and Washoe counties stemming from frustration over the process at the state and local levesl of granting businesses the permission to open dispensaries.
One of the key focuses is the need for more dispensaries, especially in Clark County.
But Brezny, along with State Sen. Tick Segerblom, D-Las Vegas, hope this process can be settled during the Legislature. Segerblom has drafted bill requests proposing an increase in the amount of dispensaries in each jurisdiction statewide.
"There are a number of topics I have heard that are going to be brought up at Legislature," said Leslie Bocskor, the chairman of the Nevada Cannabis Industry Association.
Bocskor said the number of dispensaries could increase by as much as 50 percent.
In Washoe County, where lawmakers waited to hear from the state, there's other issues. Three of the county's five unincorporated dispensaries were given licenses in Incline Village and Crystal Bay. Businesses can't move outside a five-mile radius once selected, according to the law.
Tests for impaired driving will also be addressed, Bocskor said.
"Currently our law is a very aggressive," he said. That's because metabolite testing — under the current system — can detect marijuana in someone's system for weeks after they smoked.
"Some people who use it obviously won't be under intoxicating effect but will have metabolites in system," he said.
Meanwhile, there's recreational marijuana, which was brought through an initiative petition and will go to the ballot if voted down in the Legislature.
"I think we will also see a discussion about the ballot initiative that was filed," Bocskor said. "If it's not in the Legislature it will be in the ballot box. I think the Legislative session will be very interesting this year, particularly in areas on expansion, private transfer of equity, those are some big issues we will be looking at."