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EU Medicines Regulator Says It Found Link Between AstraZeneca COVID-19 Shot & Rare Blood Clots

EU Medicines Regulator Says It Found Link Between AstraZeneca COVID-19 Shot & Rare Blood Clots

Plus, UPS is buying 10 electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft from Beta Technologies, Morgan Stanley sold $5 billion worth of shares owned by Archegos Capital a day before it collapsed, and Fibrogen shares are down 40%.

Stocks were mixed at the open on Wednesday with the Dow adding 14 points, or less than 0.1%. The S&P 500 traded just above the flatline, while the Nasdaq dropped nearly 0.2%.

AstraZeneca shares are down this morning after a top European medicine regulator said it found a possible link between its COVID-19 vaccine and rare blood clotting issues in adults who received the shot. Marco Cavaleri, chair of the European Medicines Agency’s vaccine evaluation team, said in an interview with Italian newspaper Il Messaggero, “In my opinion we can now say it, it is clear that there is an association with the vaccine. However, we still do not know what causes this reaction.” The EMA subsequently said that “unusual blood clots with low blood platelets should be listed as very rare side effects” of the AstraZeneca vaccine, while also repeating that the overall benefits of the shot outweigh the risks.

UPS announced it is buying 10 electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft from Beta Technologies. The shipper said it will use the eVTOLs for use in its Express Air delivery network with a focus on small and medium markets, and will operate the eVTOLs under its Flight Forward division which is also exploring drone delivery. UPS Advanced Technology Group vice president Bala Ganesh said that the new type of aircraft, which is a cross between a plane and a helicopter, “unlocks new business models that don’t exist today. For example, you can see a future where it’s carrying, let’s say 1,000 points, 1,500 points to rural hospitals,” landing on the helipad instead of at an airport. The first delivery of Beta Technologies’ ALIA-250 eVTOL is expected in 2024, and UPS said it has an option to acquire as many as 150.

Morgan Stanley sold $5 billion worth of shares owned by Archegos Capital a day before a deluge of block trades by its rivals sent shockwaves through the market. The bank offered the shares at a discount, telling the hedge funds who purchased the shares that the sale was part of a margin call that could prevent the collapse of an unnamed client. But the purchasers said they felt betrayed by Morgan Stanley because they didn’t receive crucial context around Archegos’ situation, according to a person familiar with the trades, with the hedge funds learning later that Archegos and its prime brokers met the night before to attempt an orderly unwind of its positions. According to some of the people involved, that means Morgan Stanley bankers knew the extent of the selling that was likely to come before the shares were sold. “I think it was an ‘oh s—-“ moment where Morgan [Stanley] was looking at potentially $10 billion in losses on their book alone, and they had to move risk fast,” a person with knowledge of the matter said.

Fibrogen shares are down nearly 40% at the time of writing after it said safety data it had touted for years from a Phase 3 trial of roxadustat had “included post-hoc changes to the stratification factors.” In other words, the categorization of subgroups in the study was adjusted after the trial had wrapped, which the company hadn’t disclosed to investors. The news comes a month after the FDA said it had made a last-minute decision to convene an advisory committee to review Fibrogen’s application for roxadustat. “As members of senior management were preparing for the upcoming FDA Advisory Committee meeting, we became aware that the primary cardiovascular safety analyses included post-hoc changes to the stratification factors,” said Fibrogen CEO Enrique Conterno. While all of the analyses set forth below, including the differences in the stratification factors, were included in the [new drug application], we promptly decided to clarify this issue with the FDA and communicate with the scientific and investment communities.”

And Coinbase said that its first quarter revenue rose around nine-fold from last year. The cryptocurrency exchange, which is set to go public on the Nasdaq next week, saw its revenue jump to $1.8 billion in Q1 from $190.6 million in the same quarter the year prior, while net income grew to between $730 million and $800 million form $31.9 million a year ago. It also said it has 56 million verified users in the quarter, with an average of just over 6 million users who transact monthly. “We expect meaningful growth in 2021 driven by transaction and custody revenue given the increased institutional interest in the crypto asset class,” the company said in a press release.

Stocks We’re Watching

BK Technologies Inc (OTC: BKTI): BK Technologies announced yesterday that its contract with Alberta Health Services (AHS) has been extended for an additional year. BK provides AHS with mission critical P25 800 MHz portable and mobile communication technology under the contract. “One of our key strategic objectives is to establish a presence internationally,” BK President Tim Vitou said in a press release. “Having been a valued customer for the past several years, AHS provides a solid foundation from which to grow our business in Canada. We are pleased and excited that AHS has extended the contract, a clear indication of their confidence in BK, and look forward to continuing our relationship.”

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