STOCKS TO WATCH: AstraZeneca first in line for NHS Covid booster?
Is an eye-catching drug deal brewing? Industry sources say AstraZeneca is closing in on a contract with the Government to buy significant supplies of its drug Evusheld.
The antibody cocktail could help Britons whose immune systems are unlikely to respond well to a Covid vaccine to fight the virus.
The drug has yet to receive approval from UK regulators but Astra has already sold 1.2million doses to the US.
Competition: Astra, one of the first out of the blocks with a virus vaccine, is up against GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer and Merck in the race to supply Covid drugs on a global level
Astra, one of the first out of the blocks with a virus vaccine, is up against GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer and Merck in the race to supply Covid drugs on a global level.
But it may be the first UK firm to secure a big order from the NHS, which has committed to large orders from the US’s Pfizer and Merck.
A clutch of other drugs, including ones from Japanese giants Takeda and Fujifilm, are being used in NHS trials, looking at everything from preventing mild illness becoming serious to treating long Covid. AstraZeneca declined to comment.
Hunt for Warren East successor at Rolls-Royce
Rolls-Royce chair Anita Frew isn’t hanging about.
The hunt for a successor to chief executive Warren East has already begun four months after she took charge.
She’s also begun reshaping the rest of the top team. Chief people officer Harry Holt has left to join flying taxi firm Vertical Aerospace while chief technology officer Paul Stein has been moved across to become chairman of Rolls’s small nuclear reactor business.
Now The Mail on Sunday learns that strategy director Ben Story – a former City banker who joined in 2016 – headed for the exit door last month.
He had been fronting Rolls’s response to criticism from its biggest shareholder Causeway Capital Management.
Time for a new Story, it appears.
Spike in profit warnings
Investors looking for stability in their portfolios: look away now. Research from EY shows a spike in profit warnings from listed companies at the end of 2021, with many citing rising costs and supply chain issues.
Online retailers Boohoo and AO World were among those issuing profit alerts.
Still, the total for 2021 was 203 profit warnings, down from a record-breaking 583 in the Covid chaos of 2020. Progress.
Life’s a beach, unless you’re a travel boss
Simon Cooper, founder and chief executive of online holiday specialist On The Beach, has spent the pandemic refunding cancelled flights and raising £92million from investors.
The shares are down a quarter over the past year, and short-seller Ennismore Fund is betting against the stock.
The firm’s annual report now reveals that – after sacrificing his salary for seven months in 2020 – he’s missed out on getting a bonus again too.
There’s a silver lining: he’s been handed a pay rise. Cooper will receive £215,757 – a 4 per cent hike in line with its workforce’s rise, while finance chief Shaun Morton gets a 10 per cent rise to £275,000.
More than enough for a jaunt to Lanzarote, then.