Healthcare Roundup – Pot stocks rally as Trump administration proceeds with transition to Biden, Moderna to supply EU up to 160M COVID vaccine doses

Published on: November 25, 2020
Author: Amy Liu

Pot stocks rally as Trump administration proceeds with transition to Biden

Cannabis stocks are solidly in the green premarket on the news of Trump finally approved the start of the formal transition process to President-elect Joe Biden.

Trump said via Twitter that he had told his officials to begin “initial protocols” involving the transfer to Biden “in the best interest of our country.”

Moderna to supply EU up to 160M COVID vaccine doses

The European Union has struck a deal with U.S. biotech firm Moderna (NASDAQ:MRNA) for the supply of as many as 160M doses of its experimental COVID-19 vaccine, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said today.

Last week, Moderna said its experimental vaccine was 94.5% effective in preventing COVID-19, based on interim data from a late-stage clinical trial.

Actual purchases will be carried out by EU governments if the vaccine is approved by the EU’s drug regulator.

Contract terms have not been disclosed: An EU official involved in the talks has told Reuters that the EU was seeking a price below $25 per dose for the Moderna vaccine, but Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel said on Sunday the company would charge governments in the $25-$37/dose range, depending on the amount ordered.

The Moderna supply deal is the sixth the EU has negotiated with COVID-19 vaccine makers AstraZeneca, Pfizer-BioNTech, Sanofi-GSK, Johnson & Johnson and CureVac – and takes the total number of doses secured by the bloc to 1.96B for its ~450M population, and the EU is in talks with Novavax for a seventh vaccine.

Signs point to Moderna shares being underpriced at anything below $150, Edmund Ingham writes in a bullish analysis published recently on Seeking Alpha.

U.K. could roll out vaccines from Astra-Oxford, Pfizer in December

Investors are still sizing up the COVID-19 vaccine developed by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca (NASDAQ:AZN), with shares of the latter falling 1% yesterday before recovering the ground in AH trading.

The vaccine can be stored at refrigerator temperatures and is much cheaper ($3-$4 per dose) than jabs from rivals Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) and Moderna (NASDAQ:MRNA), offering hope for the developing world.

More bang for your buck… Interim trial results also suggested that those that use less of the vaccine (a dose and half vs. two doses) will have more protection with an efficacy of 90% (compared to 70% for the other regimen).

Still, SVB Leerink analyst Geoffrey Porges called the results “embellished,” saying they were from a “relatively small” group of volunteers and the shot would never be licensed in the U.S.

However, the rollout of the Astra-Oxford jab could begin next month in the U.K., according to Health Secretary Matt Hancock, along with a vaccine from Pfizer, though both need to be assessed by the U.K. health regulator before they can be administered to the public.

“If this all goes well in the next couple of weeks, then we are looking at the potential of starting the vaccination program next month for this Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine as well as the Pfizer vaccine, but in all cases the bulk of the rollout will be in the New Year,” he told BBC Radio. “We are looking with high confidence now that after Easter things can really start to get back to normal.”

Medtronic EPS beats by $0.22, beats on revenue

Medtronic (NYSE:MDT): FQ2 Non-GAAP EPS of $1.02 beats by $0.22; GAAP EPS of $0.36 misses by $0.16.

Revenue of $7.6B (-0.8% Y/Y) beats by $500M.

Organic growth +1.5% vs. -8.4% consensus.

Given the uncertainty on near-term financial results caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the company is not providing formal annual or quarterly financial guidance at this time.

Shares +0.7% PM.

China Biologic Products EPS beats by $0.12

China Biologic Products (NASDAQ:CBPO): Q3 Non-GAAP EPS of $1.40 beats by $0.12; GAAP EPS of $0.99.

Revenue of $138.5M (+1.8% Y/Y)

Biotechnology COVID-19 Life Science Pharmaceutical