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Merck Seals $425M Buyout Deal with OncoImmune for COVID-19 Drug



The deal with OncoImmune will see Merck take up the ownership of CD24Fc with additional payment made to OncoImmune based on future favorable regulatory approvals associated with the drug.

American multinational pharmaceutical company Merck & Co Inc (NYSE: MRK) has inked a $425 million deal with OncoImmune, a privately-held, clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company based in Rockville, Maryland. Per the official announcement, the deal will see Merck acquire the outstanding shares of OncoImmune with a primary focus on supporting the mass production of the latter’s novel COVID-19 treatment drug dubbed.

The COVID-19 pandemic keeps getting more worrisome after about a year one year since it was diagnosed in Wuhan China. To date, the virus has infected more than 12 million Americans with over 250,000 deaths. The average daily infection rate is about 170,000 and this shows that a significant amount of infected persons get hospitalized. 

According to data from a late-stage clinical trial involving 203 patients, the OncoImmune drug of interest CD24Fc is reportedly known to reduce the risk of respiratory failure or death by more than 50% in patients hospitalized with Covid-19 and requiring oxygen as noted by Merck on Monday.

“Meaningful new therapeutic options are desperately needed for possibly millions of people around the world who will develop severe or critical COVID-19 disease,” said Dr. Roger M. Perlmutter, President Merck Research Laboratories. “Recent clinical investigations support the view that CD24Fc may provide benefit beyond standard of care therapy for COVID-19 patients requiring oxygen support, and hence will represent an important addition to the Merck pipeline of investigational medicines and vaccines designed to address the COVID-19 pandemic.”

As noted by Perlmutter and as reported by CNBC, the move by Merck to invest the huge sum in the OncoImmune COVID-19 treatment drug is to provide the smaller firm with the technological backup to scale up the production of CD24Fc so as to be able to get it to the people that need it the most in the shortest possible time frame.

“We realized that this small little company was in no position to make CD24Fc to try and treat all of the people who could potentially benefit from this drug,” Perlmutter said. “We decided that the only way, seriously, that this could be brought to people who need it is for us to lean in with our capabilities.”

Besides OncoImmune’s Drug, Merck Is Also Developing COVID-19 Vaccines

Merck is playing a more active role in helping to fight the COVID-19 pandemic and its move into the treatment drugs for the COVID-19 pandemic. Merck has two COVID-19 vaccines under development and with its push for CD24Fc, it can actively help in saving more lives as the world anticipates the approval of a functional vaccine.

The deal with OncoImmune will see Merck take up the ownership of CD24Fc with additional payment made to OncoImmune based on future favorable regulatory approvals associated with the drug. According to the announcement, “OncoImmune will spin-out certain rights and assets unrelated to the CD24Fc program to a new entity to be owned by the existing shareholders of OncoImmune.” Merck will have the option to invest about $50 million in the new entity.

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Benjamin Godfrey is a blockchain enthusiast and journalists who relish writing about the real life applications of blockchain technology and innovations to drive general acceptance and worldwide integration of the emerging technology. His desires to educate people about cryptocurrencies inspires his contributions to renowned blockchain based media and sites. Benjamin Godfrey is a lover of sports and agriculture.

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Can You Buy Crypto on One Exchange and Sell on Another?




Question: Can you buy cryptocurrency on one exchange and sell it on a different exchange?

Answer: Yes.

Question: Why would you want to do this, and what is it called?

Answer: It’s call Arbitrage, and cryptocurrency investors do it to make money.

Just like any other asset, cryptocurrencies are worth what someone else is willing to pay for them. And as it happens, Bitcoin is worth more in certain areas of the world, as well as between different exchanges. This means there is a profit margin that savvy traders can exploit -and it is perfectly legal.

This is a practice known as arbitrage, where you buy Bitcoin (or another cryptocurrency) on one exchange and then sell in on a different exchange where it has a higher value. Arbitrage is a common market practice; cryptocurrency investors did not invent the practice. It is simply buying from one exchange and selling the same asset on another exchange so the owner can turn a profit.

Why Is Arbitrage Work Done?

The reason why you might buy Bitcoins in Canada and turn around to sell them immediately elsewhere is that there will always be variations of the cost of Bitcoin, from one exchange to another. And sometimes there is a large enough variation that you can make a substantial profit.

Exchanges price cryptocurrencies at what they can sell them for. That means that larger exchanges can move larger amounts of Bitcoin faster than smaller ones can. This also means that they can sell Bitcoin at a lower price.

On the other hand, smaller exchanges move smaller amounts of Bitcoin, so they have to charge more for Bitcoin. It is almost like shopping at a convenience store versus shopping at Costco -volume discounts apply.

The Math and Profit Margins

The potential profit from arbitrage varies greatly, of course. It also has a lot to do with how advanced you are as a cryptocurrency trader. That’s because if you are going to make this work, you need to know which exchanges are selling Bitcoin for more and which for less.

But if done correctly, arbitrage can be very profitable.

Here is a little bit of hypothetical math to show you how the profit is earned through arbitrage.

Bitcoin is selling for $1000 on exchange A

Bitcoin is selling for $1050 on exchange B

You buy 100 Bitcoin at $1000 on A for a total of $100 000

You then sell them on B for $105 000

That is a profit of $5000 in a matter of hours ($50 x 100 = $5000)

When to Try Arbitrage

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GM Stock Up 1%, General Motors to Execute Its EV Plan with Affordable Chevy Bolt




The Bolt EV will have a starting price of $31,995 compared to the $33,995 starting price of the new 2022 Bolt Utility Vehicle. 

General Motors Company (NYSE: GM) to release two affordable Chevrolet Bolts as part of their plan to become an all-electric vehicle company by 2035. According to the report, the company plans on starting the Chevrolet Bolt below $34,000 and will be an all-electric vehicle. Also, there will be a GMC Hummer EV pick-up later this year at a $113,000 starting price. The Chief Engineer of the company’s battery electric vehicle architecture, Jesse Ortega in a statement said that the representation of the GMC Hummer EV and what the Bolt EV in the body can be represented shows their capabilities.

Meanwhile, GM stock is in the green. Currently, it is 1.69% up, trading at $52.20.

Some of the officials of General Motor refused to comment on the profitability of the Bolt EV. However, the CEO of the company, Mary Barra, and the President of the company, Mark Reuss revealed that the expected next-generation vehicle will be more profitable than the Bolt EV set to be released this year. The Bolt EV will have a starting price of $31,995 compared to the $33,995 starting price of the new 2022 Bolt Utility Vehicle.

The affordability of the vehicle places the company in a better consumer preferential position compared to the Tesla Model 3 which starts at around $37,000 and the $43,000 starting price of the Ford Mustang Mach-E Crossover. Tony Johnson, Director of Chevrolet Marketing believes that the team did marvelously well to deliver superb job driving quality, driving consistency, and driving cost. According to him, the advancement was the contributing factor that resulted in the drastic fall of the starting price.

The Bolt EUV hits 250 miles while the Bolt EV hits 259 miles in full charge. The company’s vehicle that has Ultium Technology will have a 450 mile per charge according to reports. General Motors added some technological features to the model to ensure that they stay competitive. The Bolt EUV, for instance, was integrated with the hands-free supercruise semi-autonomous highway driving system. This will help the driver to be monitored with facial recognition whether he is distracted behind the steering wheel or not while the system is running.

The company has launched a marketing campaign called “Everybody In”. This is a strategy to attract new buyers in their numbers to retain them in the coming years as part of their plan to improve on the adoption of EV. This means buyers will have the opportunity to go for a next-generation EV while they give out their lower-priced vehicles to the company. Ortega explained that they have a plan to keep their customers for a lifetime, and so they seek to delight them by offering them an EV as their needs grow and lifestyle changes.

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Excellent John K. Kumi is a cryptocurrency and fintech enthusiast, operations manager of a fintech platform, writer, researcher, and a huge fan of creative writing. With an Economics background, he finds much interest in the invisible factors that causes price change in anything measured with valuation. He has been in the crypto/blockchain space in the last five (5) years. He mostly watches football highlights and movies in his free time.

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Tether Claims to Receive 500 BTC Ransom Note, They Will Not Pay




Tether alleges it has received a ransom note for 500 BTC. The extortionists have threatened to make documents that are harmful to the Bitcoin ecosystem public.

On Sunday, Tether shared on its Twitter account that it was been extorted. In a thread, Tether stated that they had received a ransom note asking for 500 BTC – worth around $22 million. Tether further noted that the extortionist had threatened to release documents that would be “harmful to the Bitcoin ecosystem.” Tether has been clear that it will not pay. This comes just days after the stablecoin settled a case with the New York attorney general regarding the $850 million loan to Bitfinex.

The team also disputed the circulating documents purported to be personnel emails between Tether and Deltec Bank & Trust and others. Some have purported that these documents are proof that the stablecoin is not fully backed by dollars in reserves as it has long claimed. So far the emails have not been confirmed and Deltec Bank is yet to comment. After receiving the ransom note, Tether wrote:

“Today we also received a ransom demand for 500 BTC to be sent to bc1qa9f60pved3w3w0p7snpxlnh5t4uj95vxn797a7. The sender said that, unless they receive the BTC by tomorrow, they will leak documents to the public in an effort to “harm the bitcoin ecosystem.” We are not paying.”

Undermining Tether

The team has argued that the threat could be a simple extortion scheme or a way to undermine it. Basic extortions are popular in the crypto community, at the same time, the Tether project is surrounded by controversy. This has made the case complicated. Some in the community have long suspected that Tether is not fully backed by dollars in reserve. Additionally, academics have argued that Tether manipulated Bitcoin prices in 2017. Coincidentally as Bitcoin surged to reach $20K, Tether’s market cap climbed from $2 billion to $34 billion.

Tether has been key in the crypto market as a stablecoin. Stablecoins allow investors and exchanges to enter and exit cryptocurrencies in times of extreme volatility with ease. Despite such coins being popular, the largest has been Tether. At the time of press, the coin ranks 5th with a market cap of $35 billion. Interestingly, because of this the stablecoins use of entering and exiting from other cryptocurrencies, Tether records the highest daily trading volume on the crypto market. At the time of press, this stands at over $95 billion.

With the team clear that it will not pay, many will be watching closely if there are any controversial documents released that potentially harm the ecosystem. If not, it will be obvious that this was just a way to undermine the project and spread FUD in the market.

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Kiguru is a fine writer with a preference for innovation, finance, and the convergence of the two. A firm adherent to the groundbreaking capability of cryptographic forms of money and the blockchain. When not in his office, he is tuned in to Nas, Eminem, and The Beatles.

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