COMPANY NEWS IN BRIEF

29 July 2020 | Business

Moderna, Pfizer start trials

Moderna Inc and Pfizer Inc launched two 30 000-subject trials of Covid-19 vaccines that could clear the way for regulatory approval and widespread use by the end of this year, the companies said.

The trials are the first late-stage studies supported by the Trump administration's effort to speed development of measures against the novel coronavirus, adding to hope that an effective vaccine will help end the pandemic.

Moderna stock rose 9%. Pfizer shares rose 1.6% in afterhours trade and its partner BioNTech, which developed the vaccine, rose 4.2%.

Both vaccine candidates rely on a new technology that allows for faster development and manufacturing than traditional vaccine production methods but does not have an extensive track record.

Moderna, which has never brought a vaccine to market, has received nearly US$1 billion from the US government, which is helping bankroll several vaccine candidates under its Operation Warp Speed program. – Nampa/Reuters

Huawei demands

Lawyers representing Huawei Technologies' Meng Wanzhou, who is fighting against extradition to the United States, argued in a Canadian court that redacted documents prepared by the Canadian spy agency relating to her December 2018 arrest should be released.

The lawyers said national security should not limit the release of the documents, parts of which were made public during ongoing court proceedings over whether Meng, Huawei's chief financial officer, should be extradited, court documents showed.

Meng's lawyers have asked for additional documents from the Canadian government pertaining to her arrest, hoping to support their claim that Canadian authorities committed abuses of process during her arrest.

Meng is accused by US authorities of bank fraud for misleading HSBC about Huawei's relationship with a company operating in Iran, putting HSBC at risk of fines and penalties for breaking US sanctions on Tehran.

The documents in question relate to communications between the FBI and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) and show the involvement of the Canadian spy agency in the arrest of Meng, which soured diplomatic ties between Ottawa and Beijing. – Nampa/Reuters

BioNTech begin study

German biotech BioNTech and US drugmaker Pfizer Inc said they would begin a pivotal global study to evaluate their lead Covid-19 vaccine candidate.

If the study is successful, the companies could submit the vaccine for regulatory approval as early as October, putting them on track to supply up to 100 million doses by the end of 2020 and 1.3 billion by the end of 2021.

Patients are each given two doses of the drug makers vaccine to help boost immunity, so the first 100 million doses would vaccinate around 50 million people.

The study is expected to include about 120 sites globally and could include up to 30 000 participants. It will include regions heavily impacted by Covid-19.

Pfizer has already had an agreement to sell 100 million doses of its vaccine to the U.S. government and give it the option to buy 500 million more. It is in talks with other governments, including the European Union, about similar deals. – Nampa/Reuters

Hyundai races

Hyundai Motor Co, an early backer of hydrogen cars, has watched the electric rise of Tesla, including on its home turf. Now's it's going on the offensive in the battery-powered market led by its US rival.

The South Korean company plans to introduce two production lines dedicated to electrics vehicles (EVs), one next year and another in 2024, according to an internal union newsletter seen by Reuters.

Euisun Chung, leader of the Hyundai Motor Group conglomerate that also includes Kia Motors, has also held a series of meetings since May with his counterparts at Samsung, LG and SK Group, which make batteries and electronic parts.

The purpose of the talks, which were publicly announced, was for Hyundai to try to secure batteries at a time of tight supply as the race for EVs intensifies, according to several industry sources. Those manufacturers also supply the likes of Tesla, Volkswagen and GM.

Hyundai told Reuters it was collaborating with Korean battery suppliers "to scale up" its electric car production efficiently. It declined to comment on any plans to introduce dedicated production lines. – Nampa/Reuters

Intel ousts its engineer

Intel Corp's chief engineering officer Murthy Renduchintala is departing, part of a move in which a key technology unit will be separated into five teams, the chipmaker said on Monday.

Intel said it is reorganizing its technology, systems architecture and client group. Its new leaders will report directly to chief executive officer Bob Swan.

Ann Kelleher, a 24-year Intel veteran, will lead development of 7-nanometer and 5-nanometer chip technology processes. Last week, the company had said the smaller, faster 7-nanometer chipmaking technology was six months behind schedule and it would have to rely more on outside chipmakers to keep its products competitive.

Renduchintala, who was president of the wide-ranging group before its reorganization and widely seen as a No. 2 to Swan, joined Intel in 2015. He was executive vice president of Qualcomm Inc, and has been on Accenture's board since April 2018.

Renduchintala was one of several key hires from outside Intel, which had been famous in Silicon Valley for developing and promoting talent from within. He was hired as part of a strategy to go after broader markets than the central processing units, or CPUs, the company became known for in the PC era. – Nampa/Reuters