This week, members of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will convene to discuss Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, bringing the inoculation closer to receiving authorization to be distributed throughout the country. A couple hotly anticipated initial public offerings will also draw investor focus.
Pfizer’s vaccine review
Equity markets for weeks have been propped up amid a flurry of upbeat vaccine-related news, as drugmakers unveiled efficacy data that far exceeded health officials’ expectations.
Another milestone in the vaccine approval process could come as soon as this week.
Pfizer (PFE) and its German partner BioNTech (BNTX) in late November became the first to file for emergency use authorization (EUA) with the FDA after finding their vaccine was 95% effective in preventing COVID-19. By going through an EUA, the drugmakers have been able to bypass the typical months-long process to receive FDA clearance, given the dire COVID-19 situation in the U.S.
Over the past couple weeks, FDA staff members have pored over clinical data from the drugmakers’ trial. The agency said on Nov. 20 – the same day that Pfizer announced its intent to file for an EUA – that it would convene a meeting of its outside scientific advisory board, the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC), on Dec. 10.
The VRBPAC will review the data, and will then vote as soon as that day on whether or not to recommend that the FDA authorize the vaccine. Though the recommendation is non-binding, the FDA typically honors the outcome of these votes.
General Gustave Perna, head of the nation’s Operation Warp Speed, who intended to expedite the process of distributing a coronavirus vaccine, has said he believes the vaccines will begin being distributed to states 24 hours after the FDA grants authorization. On Dec. 1, The Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) released its initial set of recommendations over which populations should receive the first batches of any authorized vaccine. According to their guidelines, the first doses should be offered to both health care workers and those living in long-term care facilities.
Pfizer’s vaccine was already cleared by UK health officials last week, with Britain becoming the first Western nation to begin distributing a COVID-19 vaccine that had undergone rigorous clinical testing. The company plans to ship 50 million COVID-19 vaccines globally by the end of this year, and by more than 1 billion next year.
Moderna (MRNA) in late November became the second drugmaker to file for an EUA for its vaccine candidate putting it next in line after Pfizer’s vaccine for FDA review.
Airbnb, DoorDash IPOs
Two household-name tech startups are poised to go public this week, adding to 2020’s influx of initial public offerings.
Shares of Airbnb are slated to begin trading on the Nasdaq on Dec. 10 under the ticker “ABNB.” DoorDash, which will trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker “DASH,” is set to see shares start trading one day earlier.
Food delivery company DoorDash has been a beneficiary of this year’s stay-in-place orders and social distancing, as customers increasingly turned to digital food delivery services. DoorDash’s latest operating results for 2020 have reflected that boom in demand: Revenue during the first nine months of this year more than tripled over the same period last year to $1.9 billion. And over the same time frame, its net loss narrowed to $149 million, down significantly from $533 million in 2019.
In a testament to heightened demand for its public offering, the San Francisco-based company boosted its IPO fundraising goal on Friday to as much as $3.1 billion, up from its previous high-end goal of $2.8 billion. According to the filing, it will market 33 million shares for between $90 to $95 apiece, up from its previous range of $75 to $85 per share. At the high end, this suggests DoorDash will have a fully diluted valuation of more than $35 billion.
Still, the company faces stiff competition from an array of other players in the food delivery space, though it remains the leader domestically for now. DoorDash gobbled up the most U.S. market share in April of this year during the height of stay-in-place orders, enjoying a lead of nearly 20 percentage points ahead of UberEats (UBER), according to data from EdisonTrends. The latter has since completed an acquisition of rival delivery company Postmates to try and bridge the gap in market share.
Airbnb, on the other hand, has seen business slide this year as the pandemic decimated travel demand.
The home-rental software platform saw revenue drop 32% to $2.5 billion during the first nine months of this year versus 2019, though its top line decline improved to 18% in the third quarter specifically. Like DoorDash, the company remains unprofitable, and its net losses more than doubled to $697 million for the first nine months of this year.
The company had been growing strongly leading up to 2020, and its revenue jumped by more than 30% in fiscal 2019. However, it hinted at an uncertain post-virus future in its prospectus, noting that, “Even after shelter-in-place orders and travel advisories are lifted, demand for our offerings, particularly those related to cross-border travel, may remain depressed for a significant length of time, and we cannot predict if and when demand will return to pre-COVID-19 levels.”
Airbnb said in a filing last week that it planned to offer 51.9 million shares in its initial public offering at between $44 to $50 apiece. This would mean the IPO would raise about $2.6 billion on the high end, and give the company a fully diluted valuation of about $35 billion.
Monday: Consumer Credit, October ($17.5 billion expected, $16.21 billion in September)
Tuesday: NFIB Small Business Optimism, November (102.5 expected, 104.0 in October); Non-Farm Productivity, 3Q final (4.9% expected, 4.9% in 2Q); Unit Labor Costs, 3Q final (-8.9% expected, -8.9% in 2Q)
Wednesday: MBA Mortgage Applications, week ended December 4 (-0.6% during prior week); Wholesale Inventories month-over-month, October final (0.9% expected, 0.9% in September); JOLTS Job Openings, October (6.3 million expected, 6.436 million in September)
Thursday: Consumer Price Index month-over-month, November (0.1% expected, 0.0% in October); CPI year-over-year, November (1.1% expected, 1.2% in October); CPI excluding food and energy month-over-month, November (0.1% expected, 0.0% in October); CPI excluding food and energy year-over-year, November (1.5% expected, 1.6% in October); Initial Jobless Claims, week ended December 5 (723,000 expected, 712,000 during prior week); Continuing Claims, week ended November 28 (5.52 million during prior week); Household change in net worth, 3Q ($7.6 trillion in 2Q); Monthly Budget Statement, November (-$200.0 billion expected, -$284.1 billion in October)
Friday: Producer Price Index month-over-month, November (0.1% expected, 0.2% in October); PPI excluding food and energy month-over-month, November (0.2% expected, 0.1% during prior week); PPI year-over-year, November (0.6% expected, 0.5% in October); PPI excluding food and energy year-over-year, November (1.5% expected, 1.1% in October); University of Michigan Sentiment, December preliminary (76.0 expected, 76.9 in November)
Emily McCormick is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter: @emily_mcck
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