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Wednesday, January 27, 2021
Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine will likely protect people from the deadly bug for up to two years, CEO Stéphane Bancel said Thursday. While the Massachusetts biotech firm needs to conduct more research to determine how long its shot wards off the coronavirus, Bancel said the “nightmare scenario” of the vaccine only working for a month or two is “out of the window.” “The antibody decay generated by the vaccine in humans goes down very slowly,” Bancel said at an event sponsored by Oddo BHF, a financial services group. “We believe there will be protection potentially for a couple of years.” The US Food and Drug Administration cleared Moderna’s vaccine for emergency use last month along with a similar shot developed by Pfizer and BioNTech. FDA officials acknowledged that Moderna’s 30,000-person clinical trial of the shot had not yet produced enough data to determine whether it would remain effective for longer than two months. Companies seeking emergency clearance for COVID-19 vaccines should continue their research “to assess long-term safety and efficacy,” the agency has said. Bancel also said Moderna was close to proving that its vaccine would work against new coronavirus variants that have emerged in Britain and South Africa. Both are
The 10-minute shows Quibi made for your smartphone could come back to life on your TV. Roku is reportedly negotiating a deal to take over the library of short-form streaming content Quibi produced before it collapsed after just six months. The deal would give Roku — which makes a popular device for streaming video through TV sets — a slate of exclusive programs for its own free-to-watch app called the Roku Channel, which currently broadcasts other companies’ movies and shows along with ads, The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday. The terms would give Roku rights to Quibi shows that feature big names such as Chrissy Teigen, Anna Kendrick and Liam Hemsworth and include titles like “Murder House Flip,” “Most Dangerous Game” and “Dummy,” according to the paper. While the companies are in advanced discussions, the financial terms of the deal are unclear and the talks could still fall apart, the Journal says. Roku’s stock price jumped about 2.5 percent on the news to $340.50 in premarket trading as of 8:49 a.m. Monday. A deal with Roku could allow Quibi to save some face after its failed bet on short-form video content. Founded by media mogul Jeffrey Katzenberg, Quibi raised more
Online lending startup Social Finance Inc. (SoFi) said Thursday it has agreed to go public through a merger with Social Capital Hedosophia Holdings Corp V, a blank-check acquisition company led by venture capital investor Chamath Palihapitiya. The deal values SoFi at around $8.65 billion and is expected to provide up to $2.4 billion in cash proceeds to San Francisco-based SoFi. Reuters had reported earlier on Thursday that SoFi and Social Capital were nearing a deal to merge. Units of Social Capital Hedosophia Holdings Corp V had jumped as much as 47.9 percent following the report and were trading up 29.7 percent at $15.72 before the stock was halted. “The new investments and our partnership with Social Capital Hedosophia signify the confidence in our strategy, the momentum in our business, as well as the significant growth opportunity ahead of us,” SoFi Chief Executive Anthony Noto said in a statement. Founded in 2011, SoFi capitalized on the retrenchment of banks from large swaths of consumer lending in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis. It started with refinancing student loans and expanded into mortgages and personal loans. The company said in October it had received preliminary, conditional approval from the U.S. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency in its application
The past 12 months have been brutal for many Americans, with tens of millions losing their jobs due to the coronavirus pandemic. But for a handful of billionaires, 2020 has been nothing short of a bonanza. The 10 richest men in the world have added $341 billion to their collective net worths in the last 12 months — a sum greater than the market value of Coca-Cola and Snap Inc. combined. Of that figure, $265 billion comes from just the five wealthiest individuals. From Silicon Valley to Omaha, Nebraska, here’s who made out like a bandit in a year dominated by bad economic news. Elon Musk Nobody’s bank account has ever had a better 2020 than the mercurial CEO of Tesla. Musk started the year worth less than $30 billion only to see his fortune balloon to a staggering $167.2 billion — a gain of $139.7 billion amid a 670-percent stock rise in Telsa’s stock, according to data from the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. “It’s a historic rally that hasn’t been seen in the technology or automotive world ever,” Wedbush analyst Dan Ives told The Post. “Musk has the golden touch with Tesla, and the appetite for the Musk and Tesla
American workers filed 787,000 applications for jobless benefits last week, 19,000 fewer than last week — pushing the total number of filings during the coronavirus pandemic to 73 million.  The number of Americans who have filed for unemployment benefits since March is now equivalent to the populations of France and Portugal combined.  The claims were down from the previous week’s revised total of 806,000. The figure breaks a three-week streak of jobless numbers clocking in above 800,000.  New filings, however, have remained above the pre-pandemic record of 695,000 for 10 straight months despite falling sharply from their late March peak of about 6.8 million. “The 787,000 new unemployment claim filings were down from the week before, but the 4-week moving average continues to trend higher,” Bankrate’s chief financial analyst Greg McBride said.  These are the first jobless claims since Americans began receiving their long-awaited COVID-19 stimulus checks. The $600 will be showing up in the bank accounts of people who have direct deposit set up with the IRS over the next week. The Treasury began mailing out physical checks on Wednesday for individuals who do not have their accounts linked.
Shares of Stitch Fix surged on Tuesday after the personal styling service posted a surprise, pandemic-fueled quarterly profit while projecting a financial growth spurt. The San Francisco-based firm’s stock price surged as much as 53 percent to an all-time intraday high of $54.94 on the heels of its better-than-expected earnings report for the August-to-October quarter. Stitch Fix — which sends customers packages of clothes customized to their style that they can either buy or return — has thrived in recent months as the coronavirus pandemic pushed more consumers to shop online and put pressure on brick-and-mortar retailers. The nine-year-old company set a record for customer growth last quarter, adding 241,000 active clients compared to the preceding three-month period. And nearly 80 percent of its customers bought at least one item in their first package of clothes in each of the last two quarters, the highest level it’s seen in five years. “While the apparel industry is currently contracting, we expect to take share and drive higher new client sign-ups as the relevance of our model of personalized discovery and convenience grows,” Stitch Fix executives Katrina Lake, Mike Smith and Elizabeth Spaulding said in a Monday letter to shareholders. Stitch Fix
A health care venture conceived by Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan to attack soaring costs is dissolving. Haven, which was formed in 2018 by the three US corporate giants, will cease operations by the end of February, a company spokeswoman said Monday. She gave no reason for the dissolution of the venture. The independent company was created to focus on improving the care delivered to employees of those businesses while doing a better job of managing the expense. But benefits experts expected any plans developed by Haven to become widely adopted by other companies if they proved effective in controlling costs. News of the venture’s creation nearly three years ago sent a brief shudder through the stocks of health insurers that manage employer-sponsored coverage. But the Boson-based venture has been largely silent since naming a high-profile CEO — Harvard professor, author and surgeon Dr. Atul Gawande — and then announcing its name in 2019. Gawande departed last May. Employer-sponsored insurance covers about 157 million people, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. That’s nearly half the total US population and the biggest slice of the country’s patchwork health insurance market. Health care costs have grown faster than wages and inflation for
The media industry was racked by a record 30,711 job cuts in 2020 — a stunning increase of 201 percent from the year earlier when 10,201 jobs were lost. The figures, which were rolled out Thursday by outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, included jobs data from the news industry, advertising, television and movie production. Last year’s dismal results topped the previous all-time record of 28,802 jobs lost in 2008 at the height of the Great Recession. And cutbacks in newsrooms, whether broadcast, digital or print, accounted for more than half the losses, or some 16,180 cuts. Newsrooms from Buzzfeed to Vice began cutting back in droves when the pandemic hit in March and dried up advertising revenue. While some of those publications, like Conde Nast and Meredith, have since reversed pay cuts unveiled earlier this year, not everyone has been able to do so. A steep 23-percent pay cut at the National Enquirer parent company A360 Media remains in place, for example. Plus, very few companies appear to be adding back furloughed staff. The Challenger, Gray & Christian report found the media industry has only announced plans to add back 1,615 jobs over 2020. Advertisers saw layoffs of 30
Even with a coronavirus vaccine on the horizon, major manufacturers are betting big that working from home is here to stay. Major companies from Kimberly-Clark to J.M. Smucker Co. are either expanding their production of goods catering to at-home consumers or revamping it to target this group, according to a new report. It’s just the latest sign that remote work will linger long after the pandemic lifts. Kimberly-Clark, which makes Cottonelle and Scott toilet paper, has been converting one of its factories that makes toilet paper for offices into one that makes products for consumers, according to the Wall Street Journal report. And Kraft Heinz, which makes Kraft Mac & Cheese cups and Oscar Mayer cold cuts, is spending $100 million to increase its eat-from-home lunch offerings next year. “This is a business that has been relatively flat for a while at best,” Adam Butler, president of Kraft’s Easy Meals Made Better division told The Journal. “Now we want to double down on it.” View of the inside of the Kimberly-Clark plant AFP via Getty Images A logo sign outside of a
Trader Joe’s 13th New York City store is coming up lucky for Harlem.  The popular, fresh goods-driven grocery chain will open a 28,000-square-foot store at 121 W. 125th St. — the 17-story Urban League Empowerment Center development set to open in 2023, The Post has learned.  The surprise lease signing adds Trader Joe’s to a Harlem retail renaissance that has brought major national brands to the neighborhood — especially on historic 125th Street. Target is coming to the same building as Trader Joe’s. A massive Whole Foods and Burlington Coat Factory opened three years ago at the corner of Malcolm X Boulevard. also known as Lenox ­Avenue.  The upscale arrivals drew flak from some anti-gentrification activists, but mostly won over locals who were delighted to have better shopping options. After 25 years Fairway at 12th Avenue flopped when the company went bankrupt.  The Urban League mini-tower between Malcolm X and Adam Clayton Powell Jr. boulevards is one of many ambitious Harlem projects that are bravely underway despite the pandemic. They include Extell’s planned office tower at 180 E. 125th St., a nearly finished Marriott Hotel near the Apollo Theater, and a new Studio Museum in Harlem now under construction.  The
The developer behind the wildly popular “Fortnite” video game has acquired a nearly 1 million-square-foot abandoned shopping mall to serve as its new corporate headquarters. Epic Games purchased the Cary Towne Center mall in its hometown of Cary, North Carolina, the Triangle Business Journal reports, and will turn the site into its new campus by 2024. The 980,000-square-foot property sits about 2 miles from Epic’s current North Carolina headquarters, and cost the company just $95 million to acquire. The 87-acre campus will include both office buildings as well as recreational spaces. Epic, which has 2,200 employees, said in a press release that the campus will allow it “the flexibility to create a campus customized from the ground up to accommodate its long-term growth.” Epic, which has been the at the center of a high-profile battle with Apple over its App Store fees, also said that it will work with the town as it plans the new development, and will likely keep a $193 million Cary Community Recreation and Sports Center that had been planned for the site.
Johnson & Johnson’s coronavirus vaccine generated a lasting immune response to the deadly bug in an early-stage clinical trial, the pharmaceutical giant said. More than 90 percent of the study’s 805 participants had neutralizing antibodies offering protection against COVID-19 29 days after receiving a single dose of the vaccine, the New Jersey-based drugmaker said Wednesday. The antibodies stuck around for at least 71 days among the participants ranging in age from 18 to 55 years old, according to interim results published in the New England Journal of Medicine. J&J said it will have data later this month on the durability of immunity in people older than 65. The early data showed signs of promise for Johnson & Johnson’s one-shot vaccine even as the company reportedly hit a snag in producing the inoculations. J&J said it expects to announce results from its key late-stage vaccine trial late this month. It will then ask the Food and Drug Administration to clear the shot for emergency use if the data show it is safe and effective. Early safety data showed that people who had reactions to the vaccine generally got better within 24 hours, the company said. The most common side effects were