1. MERCK & Co: Merck & Co Inc said on Monday it has applied for U.S. emergency use authorization for its tablet to treat mild-to-moderate patients of COVID-19, putting it on course to become the first oral antiviral medication for the disease.
Its authorization could help change clinical management of COVID-19 as the pill can be taken at home. The treatment, molnupiravir, could halve the chances of death or being hospitalized for those most at risk of contracting severe COVID-19, according to the drugmaker.
Viral sequencing done so far has shown it is effective against all coronavirus variants, including Delta, Merck said.
The interim efficacy data on the drug, which has been developed with Ridgeback Biotherapeutics, had heavily impacted the shares of COVID-19 vacine makers when it was released last week.
2.VOLKSWAGEN:-Europe’s largest carmaker Volkswagen plans to decide in the first half of 2022 on the location for a planned battery cell plant in eastern Europe, it said on Monday.
Volkswagen earlier this year outlined plans to build six large battery cell factories across Europe by the end of the decade, with Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic in the running for one of them to be opened in 2027.
The company said that it was still planning to firmly settle on a location for the plant in the first six months of next year and that it had not delayed the decision.
“As you know, what has to be taken into account for this decision are the country’s respective conditions, the economic environment, the e-mobility strategy and the subsidy framework,” a spokesperson for the company said.
The spokesperson said that Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess and Thomas Schmall, board member in charge of technology, were visiting the Czech Republic on Monday for an exchange with its Skoda unit as well as on the country’s electrification strategy.
3.ASTRAZENECA- AstraZeneca’s experimental COVID-19 drug has helped cut the risk of severe disease or death in a late-stage study, the British drugmaker said on Monday, a boost to its efforts to develop coronavirus medicines beyond vaccines.
The drug, a cocktail of two antibodies called AZD7442, reduced the risk of severe COVID-19 or death by 50% in non-hospitalised patients who have had symptoms for seven days or less, meeting the main goal of the study.
AstraZeneca’s therapy, delivered via injection, is the first of its kind to show promise both as a preventative medicine and as a treatment for COVID-19 following multiple trials. It is designed to protect people who do not have a strong enough immune response to vaccines.
“These positive results show that a convenient intramuscular dose of AZD7442 could play an important role in helping combat this devastating pandemic,” Hugh Montgomery, the trial’s principal investigator, said in a statement.
4.SAUDI ARAMCO:-Saudi Aramco has asked banks to arrange a loan expected to be in the $12 billion-14 billion range that it plans to offer to buyers of its gas pipeline network, sources said, as the oil giant advances plans to raise funds from asset sales.
Aramco could raise at least $17 billion from the sale of a significant minority stake in its gas pipelines, sources have previously told Reuters. The stake would be offered with a loan financing package already in place, worth about 80% of the price.
Banks that financed a $12.4 billion acquisition of the company’s oil pipelines earlier this year received a request for proposals from Aramco last week, said three sources familiar with the matter.
That deal, which included all of Aramco’s existing and future stabilised crude pipelines, was backed by $10.5 billion financing from a large group of banks including Citi, HSBC and JPMorgan .
Aramco did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the new financing for gas pipelines. It is working with JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs on the gas pipeline deal, sources have said.
Reuters reported in August that companies that have been in talks for Aramco’s gas pipeline assets include Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP), Brookfield, Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC, European gas infrastructure owner and operator SNAM, as well as China’s Silk Road, Chinese state-backed investment fund CNIC Corp, South Korea’s sovereign wealth fund Korean Investment Corp (KIC) and NH Investment & Securities.
5.HONDA: Japanese automakers Honda Motor Co Ltd, Nissan Motor Co Ltd and Toyota Motor Corp saw their sales in China tumble in September as a chip shortage hit vehicle production in the world’s biggest car market.
Honda said it sold 121,448 vehicles in China last month, down 28% from a year earlier due to the COVID-19 pandemic and a shortage of components.
Nissan said it sold 104,443 cars, down 26%, due to “external headwind including the ongoing pandemic, cross-industry material shortages, slowdowns, and increased competition.”
Toyota said it sold 115,000 cars, down 36%.
Separately, U.S. automaker General Motors Co, which only reports quarterly China sales, said it sold over 623,000 in July through September, down 19% from the same period last year, “impacted by the ongoing global semiconductor supply chain disruption.”