Stocks Technology

WHO hired company to copy Moderna

The World Health Organization has hired the company, called Afrigen Biologics and Vaccines, as part of a $100 million plan to figure out how to make an mRNA vaccine against COVID that is as close as possible to the version produced by Moderna.

As to why WHO has chosen to try to copy Moderna rather than the other mRNA COVID vaccine, which is made by Pfizer BioNTech, Friede says the choice was practical.

“Moderna has reiterated on several occasions that they will not enforce their intellectual property during the pandemic,” says Friede. In other words, a manufacturer probably won’t face a lawsuit for producing a vaccine that’s virtually identical to Moderna’s.

But Afrigen’s Petro Treblanche says there are still a lot of unknowns. Take Moderna’s patent.

“It’s written very carefully and cleverly to not disclose absolutely everything,” says Treblanche.

So while Afrigen has been able to determine most of the equipment and specialized ingredients that are needed, “what we don’t know is the exact concentrations,” says Treblanche. “And we don’t know some of the mixing times — some of the conditions of mixing and formulating.”


The fact that we are in a pandemic situation and we have Moderna not sharing the COVID-19 vaccine recipe makes me uncomfortable. On one hand, I think innovation should be protected and rewarded. In this case, trade is protected for 20 years for the technology that Moderna invented. The question is whether this is ethical to have a company guard their profits at the cost of potential human live losses. Moderna also promises not to enforce their intellectual property during a pandemic which seems kinda reasonable. Moderna also released the genetic sequence but not give the exact procedure to manufacture it.


Netflix adds 4.4 million membership

Netflix Inc. added 4.4 million memberships in the third quarter and beats earning estimates.

Netflix Inc. said it added more subscribers than it predicted in the latest quarter as profit and revenue rose thanks to the return of popular series and new hits.

The Los Gatos, Calif.-based streaming company said third-quarter profit increased to $1.45 billion from $790 million a year earlier. Per-share earnings were $3.19 a share, compared with $1.74 a share last year, topping GAAP earnings estimates of $2.56 a share, according to FactSet.

Revenue rose to $7.48 billion from $6.44 billion a year earlier and was in line with analysts’ expectations.

The streaming service said it added roughly 4.4 million memberships in the third quarter. It had previously forecast it would add 3.5 million memberships.

Wall Street Journal

Looks like Squid Game helped.


DoorDash v San Francisco

Last Friday, the city rejected allegations that its cap of fifteen percent on the commissions that third-party food delivery service platforms charge independent restaurants contravenes state and federal law. The 33-page motion to dismiss claims that DoorDash Inc. and Grubhub Inc.’s assertions are merely a collection of related, “legally flawed ideas.” 

The platforms filed suit in July, arguing that the ordinance, once temporary, but eventually made permanent, violates both the California and the United States Constitution by placing impermissible restraints on private commerce.

Law Street Media

To get more context on what really happened:

San Francisco asks courts to dismiss the case

The Ordinance describes the commission cap as an “important step[] to ensure that restaurants can thrive in San Francisco and continue to nurture vibrant, distinctive commercial districts.”. It applies to third-party platforms that serve twenty or more restaurants, and covers any restaurant that does not meet the definition of a “formula retail use” under section 303.1 of the
Planning Code (in brief, eleven or more establishments in operation, with two or more of standardized merchandise, façade, décor/color scheme, uniform apparel, signage, and trademark or service mark).

The law originally had a sunset date of sixty days after the amendment or termination of the pandemic “Stay Safer At Home” order or any subsequent order allowing restaurants to resume at 100% capacity. However, in June 2021, the Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to repeal the sunset date, so that the cap would continue in effect. The Mayor declined to sign the repeal measure, but it became effective without her signature.

Plaintiffs also contend that the Ordinance is unreasonable because the City has a budget surplus and could aid restaurants in other ways. But the City is not required to forgo its regulatory authority in favor of using public funds to soften the blow of high commissions that platforms can impose through their market power, and the alleged availability of unidentified policy alternatives is simply irrelevant under the deferential standard of review applicable here.

San Francisco asks the courts to dismiss the case

An interesting question here is if San Francisco county can (or should) cap earnings from a private company such as DoorDash which is offering a service that is sought by consumers.

Stocks Technology

DoorDash and Uber Eats is gaining on Grubhub

Note that this is a share-price chart and not representing the sales of the various companies.

On Wednesday, the new parent company of Grubhub, Amsterdam-based Just Eat, TKWY 0.33% also known as Jet, provided a third-quarter trading update. While several countries showed stellar growth, Grubhub’s business looked disappointing, setting a negative tone ahead of third-quarter earnings for DoorDash DASH 0.61% and the Uber Eats unit of Uber Technologies. UBER -2.67% One conclusion is that Grubhub’s trends signal an industrywide slowdown for food delivery in the U.S. More likely, Grubhub’s pain is its competitors’ gain.

Competition looks like a key factor, though. YipitData shows that Uber Eats gained market share in the third quarter at the expense of Grubhub, overtaking the incumbent to become the market leader in New York City. Meanwhile, data from M Science shows that the U.S. market leader, DoorDash, expanded its national share over 6 percentage points year over year in the third quarter, at least in part at the expense of Grubhub.

Wall Street Journal

Both DoorDash and Uber Eats appears to be doing pretty well in the delivery business in USA.


Netflix is reopening a movie theater in SoCal

Netflix will reopen the Bay Theatre at Palisades Village in Southern California beginning October 22nd, becoming the third physical theater with which the streamer has announced a partnership.

The company previously reopened the Paris Theater in New York in 2019, and it’s working to restore the Egyptian Theater in Hollywood for a reopening in 2022. The third partnership for a theatrical space arrives as Netflix continues to explore additional points of entry to its originals beyond its app and website. In a press release, Netflix said it plans to use the space for special screenings, events, and theatrical releases for its films.

“In addition to premieres and theatrical releases of upcoming Netflix films, audiences can look forward to family-oriented film programming, 35mm screenings of beloved classic films, in-person appearances and Q&As, free public events and much more,” Scott Stuber, head of global films at Netflix, said in a statement.

The Verge

I didn’t know Netflix has movie theaters. It’s an interesting play, it probably allows Netflix to qualify for award ceremonies which was otherwise reserved for screenings that happened in the theaters. Great play here.

Stocks Technology

Uber completes Drizly acquisition

Uber Technologies, Inc. today announced that it has completed its acquisition of Drizly and that the two companies will begin integrating their complementary delivery apps and services. The purchase consideration was approximately $1.1 billion, consisting of approximately 18.7 million newly issued shares of Uber common stock plus cash.


On other new, cannabis marketplace Lantern is spun out of Drizly.

I think the Drizly-Uber combintion will be something to watch out for. It’s good to see Uber doubling down on delivery. There’s so much opportunities there for both companies.


This week’s earnings call

On Monday (Oct 18) there’s:

  • Albertsons
  • Philips
  • Steel Dynamics
  • State Street

On Tuesday (Oct 19):

  • Halliburton
  • Procter & Gamble
  • Johnson & Johnson
  • Philip Morris International
  • WD-40
  • Netflix

On Wednesday (Oct 20):

  • Abbott Laboratories
  • Biogen
  • NextEra Energy
  • Verizon Communications
  • Tesla
  • IBM
  • Anthem

On Thursday (Oct 21):

  • Southwest Airlines
  • Valero Energy
  • Quest Diagnostics
  • AT&T
  • SL Green Realty
  • Intel
  • Snap

On Friday (Oct 22):

  • Whirlpool
  • Honeywell
  • Seagate Technology Holdings
  • American Express

I’ll definitely watch out for Tesla, Netflix and Intel.


And there’s a new MacBook Pro

There’s an option of M1 Pro and M1 Max, which does up to 10-core CPU and 32-core GPU.

Notch is now in MacBook Pro. Personally, I don’t hate the notch since the trade off is a smaller device with higher screen to non-screen ratio.

Notch is here!

And looks like MagSafe is returning to MacBook Pro. Also exciting is the promise of charging to 50% in just 30 minutes. Very welcomed feature!.

MagSafe’s back.

This round of updates to MacBook Pro shows Apple made the right decision to ditch Intel and develop their own processors. With this Apple is able to introduce faster processing and leapfrog their competition.


macOS Monterey will release on October 25

Apple will release macOS Monterey, the next major version of its Mac operating system, on October 25, the company announced today. The new software will also ship on the new 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pros Apple is releasing next week.

Monterey will run on both Intel and Apple Silicon Macs, though it won’t run on everything that currently supports macOS Big Sur. The full support list drops a handful of 2013 and 2014-model Intel Macs, as well as the first iteration of the 12-inch MacBook from 2015:

Early 2015 and later MacBook Air
Early 2015 and later MacBook Pro
Early 2016 and later MacBook
Late 2015 and later iMac
Late 2014 and later Mac mini
2017 and later iMac Pro
Late 2013 and later Mac Pro

Ars Technica

I’m really excited for the release of macOS Monterey. This round of releases for iOS 15 and macOS Monterey, there isn’t a whole lot of new features. I see this as a consolidation phase and Apple seems to be more focused on integrating new iCloud feature across all their operating systems such as “Shared with you” and “Photo Collection” in Messages. I hope they bring more features to iMessage.

What I find interesting is the Share Your Screen feature which I always use Zoom or Google Meet for:

Share your screen feature.

Also Notes seem to have some nice improvements. Love the upcoming collaboration features. This was what I use Google Docs for with friends when doing planning.


The wealthiest 10% of Americans own a record 89% of all U.S. stocks

What this translates to is the wealthiest 10% owning a huge stake in the US economy.

The top 1% gained more than $6.5 trillion in corporate equities and mutual fund wealth during the Covid-19 pandemic, while the bottom 90% added $1.2 trillion, according to the latest data from the Federal Reserve. The share of corporate equities and mutual funds owned by the top 10% reached the record high in the second quarter, while the bottom 90% of Americans held about 11% of stocks, down from 12% before the pandemic.

“Many of the younger investors also bought in at higher prices, compared to bigger investors who have been in the market for years and see larger gains,” Rosenthal said.


This surely sounds alarming and a bit click-baity. The wealthiest does get to choose a lot where to invest money in the US economy.