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STOCKS TO WATCH: AstraZeneca first in line for NHS Covid booster?

STOCKS TO WATCH: AstraZeneca first in line for NHS Covid booster?



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Is a high profile drug deal looming? Industry sources say AstraZeneca is contracting the government to buy significant stocks 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 be approved by UK regulators, but Astra has already sold 1.2 million doses to the US.

Competition: Astra, one of the first virus vaccine blocs, takes on GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer and Merck in the race to deliver Covid drugs on a global level

Competition: Astra, one of the first virus vaccine blocs, takes on GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer and Merck in the race to deliver Covid drugs on a global level

Astra, one of the first in the virus vaccine blocs, is up against GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer and Merck in the race to deliver Covid drugs on a global level.

But it could be the first UK company to win a major order from the NHS, which has committed to major orders from US Pfizer and Merck.

A range of other drugs, including those from Japanese giants Takeda and Fujifilm, are being used in NHS trials, looking at everything from preventing mild illness from becoming serious to treating long-term Covid. AstraZeneca declined to comment.

Hunting for Warren East successor at Rolls-Royce

Rolls-Royce chair Anita Frew doesn’t hang around.

The hunt for a successor to CEO Warren East has started four months after she took charge.

She has also started reforming the rest of the top team. Chief People Officer Harry Holt has left to join the flying taxi company Vertical Aerospace, while Chief Technology Officer Paul Stein has been transferred to become chairman of Rolls’ small nuclear reactor company.

Now, The Mail on Sunday learns that strategy director Ben Story – a former City banker who joined in 2016 – went for the exit last month.

1642919840 309 STOCKS TO WATCH AstraZeneca first in line for NHS Covid

1642919840 309 STOCKS TO WATCH AstraZeneca first in line for NHS Covid

He fronted Rolls’ response to criticism from its largest shareholder Causeway Capital Management.

Time for a new Story, it seems.

Peak in profit warnings

Investors looking for stability in their portfolios: look away now. EY research shows a spike in profit warnings from publicly traded companies in late 2021, with many citing rising costs and supply chain issues.

Among those issuing profit warnings were online retailers Boohoo and AO World.

Still, the total for 2021 was 203 profit warnings, less than a record 583 in the Covid chaos of 2020. Progress.

Life is a beach unless you are a travel boss

Simon Cooper, founder and chief executive of online holiday specialist On The Beach, has spent the pandemic paying back canceled flights and raising £92 million from investors.

Shares have fallen by a quarter in the past year and shortseller Ennismore Fund is betting against the stock.

The company’s annual report now shows that – after he had sacrificed his salary for seven months in 2020 – he also missed a bonus.

There’s a silver lining: he got a raise. Cooper will receive £215,757 – a 4 per cent increase in line with the headcount increase, while head of finance Shaun Morton will receive a 10 per cent increase to £275,000.

More than enough for a trip to Lanzarote.

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