COMPANY NEWS IN BRIEF

16 September 2021 | Business

J&J reports promising Ebola vaccine data

Johnson & Johnson (J&J) said on Monday its Ebola vaccine regimen demonstrated antibody immune responses in adults and children, citing data published in the Lancet Infectious Diseases journal.

The two-dose regimen was well-tolerated and induced antibody responses to the Zaire ebolavirus species 21 days after the second dose in 98% of all participants, the company said, citing data from a late-stage trial.

The regimen, Zabdeno and Mvabea, generated immune responses that persisted in adults for at least two years. J&J added that there were no safety signals of concern.

"These peer-reviewed data support the prophylactic use of the Johnson & Johnson Ebola vaccine regimen to protect people at risk of Ebola, which is essential to our vision of preventing Ebola outbreaks before they can begin," J&J's Chief Scientific Officer Paul Stoffels said.

The company added that a booster shot administered two years after the initial vaccination induced a strong immune response within seven days.

Ebola typically kills about half of those it infects, although vaccines and new treatments have proven highly effective in reducing fatality rates. - Nampa/Reuters

Africa vaccine hub to copy Moderna shot

Efforts to develop an African base for Covid-19 vaccine production will focus on trying to replicate Moderna's shot, but a lack of progress in talks with the US company mean the project will take time, a senior WHO official told Reuters.

The drive to produce vaccines in Africa is designed to help more developing countries access Covid-19 shots after rich nations bought up most of this year's supply.

Moderna said last October it would not enforce patents related to its shot during the pandemic, raising hopes that other companies might be able to copy it and help boost Covid-19 vaccine production.

In practice, though, it is hard to replicate a vaccine without the information on how it is made, and the World Health Organization-backed tech transfer hub in South Africa set up in June to give poorer nations the know-how to produce Covid-19 vaccines - has so far not reached a deal with the company.

"The talks have not yielded any results," Martin Friede, WHO Initiative for Vaccine Research coodinator, told Reuters.Moderna did not respond to a request for comment. - Nampa/Reuters

Pacaso raises millions in SoftBank

Pacaso, a property co-ownership sales and management platform launched only about a year ago, said on Tuesday it raised US$125 million in a funding round led by SoftBank Group Corp's Vision Fund 2 which valued the company at US$1.5 billion.

Pacaso buys luxury homes, renovates and furnishes them, and then finds up to eight owners to buy a share of the property. The property is then managed through Pacaso’s SmartStay app between the owners who may not know each other.

"Owning a second home is an aspiration many, many families share. But it tends to be out of reach for most people because second homes are very expensive and they're also highly underutilized," said Austin Allison CEO and co-founder of Pacaso.

The company makes money on reselling the property and a fee for using the management app, said Allison. The fast-growing start-ups, already operating in 25 destinations in the United States, has also quickly hit some pushback.

In May, a local newspaper in Sonoma Valley, California’s wine region, reported neighbours of a co-owned Pacaso home posting sign “Pacaso time shares not welcome here” and there are at least two petitions on change.org. -Nampa/Reuters

Boeing raises jet demand forecast

Boeing revised up long-term demand forecasts on Tuesday, as a snapback in commercial air travel in domestic markets like the United States tempers the gloomy industry predictions seen at the height of coronavirus lockdowns last year.

The rosier view underpins moves by the aerospace giant to prepare for growth in travel demand and military services, even as its own ability to respond to the brighter outlook remains hampered by industrial delays and the lingering 737 MAX crisis.

The US plane maker, which dominates jet sales together with Europe's Airbus, forecast 43 610 commercial jet deliveries over the next 20 years’ worth US$7.2 trillion, an increase of 500 units from the 43 110 projected a year ago.

On a shorter 10-year view, which is more sensitive to the severe fallout on airlines from the Covid-19 pandemic, Boeing sees 19 330 deliveries, up from last year's forecast of 18 350.- Nampa/Reuters

Google to offer consumer benefits

Alphabet Inc's Google said on Wednesday its presence in South Korea equates to nearly 12 trillion won (US$10.16 billion) in economic benefits for its users, as the US tech giant faces increased scrutiny from regulators and politicians.

Google's announcement came a day after South Korea's antitrust agency fined Google 207 billion won for blocking customised versions of its Android operating system, in the company's second setback in the country in less than a month. read more

The Korea Fair Trade Commission said this could be the ninth-biggest fine it has ever imposed.

Google said during an online event that it annually provides 5.1 trillion won worth of benefits for South Koreans through its Play Store, 4.2 trillion won through its search engine service, and 2.5 trillion won through its productivity apps, including Google Docs, citing a report from consulting firm AlphaBeta.

Google added that it also annually provides 10.5 trillion won in economic benefits for South Korean companies. -Nampa/Reuters

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