💉 Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine breakthrough

Tuesday, November 10, 2020 by Robinhood Snacks | Disclosures

McDonald's = the Regina George of fast food

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Hey Snackers,

In the whirlwind of last week, you probably missed this: "Britain's new polar ship 'Boaty McBoatface' heads for open seas." That's what you get when you ask the internet for name recs.

Markets rallied yesterday on promising vaccine news. But the techy Nasdaq index fell because "pandemic winners" like Zoom could lose on reopening.

1. Pfizer and BioNTech say their COVID-19 vaccine is more than 90% effective (whoa)

Biggest vax flex yet... Big pharma Pfizer and German biotech BioNTech said their jointly developed COVID-19 vaccine was more than 90% effective in Phase 3 trials — that's huge. For reference:

  • 50% to 60% effectiveness: Dr. Fauci has said this rate would be acceptable to approve a vaccine (the flu vaccine is only 40% to 60% effective).
  • 60% to 70%: Health experts say this rating would be a big win. Pfizer's 90%+ would be a wild success — but results are preliminary and haven't been peer-reviewed.

Please get it mRN-ASAP... If Pfizer's vax gets FDA-approval, it would be the 1st mRNA vaccine ever approved for human use. Unlike OG vaccines (which use a weakened virus to generate an immune response), mRNA ones teach cells to destroy the virus.

  • Moderna stock popped too because it's also in final stage trials of an mRNA vaccine. AstraZeneca, which is in final trials for a traditional vax, dropped.
  • Reopening stocks majorly soared: AMC was up 51%, Carnival was up 39%, and Delta spiked 17%. "Pandemic Winners" like Netflix, Peloton, and Zoom all dropped big.
  • BTW: Vaccines usually take around 10 years from development to approval. This vax is on pace for a record-shattering timeframe.

Pfizer has a big leg up... if others have to compete with a 90% efficacy rate — that's highly attractive to vax-buying countries, even though Pfizer's vax comes with more rollout challenges. Moderna seems the most likely to get similar results (because: #mRNAlife). Pfizer's planning to request FDA emergency use authorization in late November. With approval, Pfizer says it can make 50M doses in 2020 and 1.3B in 2021.


Well, this is awkward... or is it just savage? Yesterday, plant-based icon Beyond Meat served up a surprising loss and disappointing quarterly sales. On the same day, McDonald's delivered expectation-beating growth and unleashed this on the world: "the McPlant."

  • The McPlant is a (wait for it) plant-based burger crafted "for McDonald’s, by McDonald’s." Mickey D’s plans to test it in several countries next year.
  • Beyond Meat says it co-created the McPlant patty, but McDonald's made zero mention of Beyond in its announcement. Awkward...

Not feelin' McLovin'... Beyond might be feeling a bit used. Last year, McDonald’s began testing a meatless burger ("PLT") in Canada that used Beyond patties. While McDonald's ended that pilot, it clearly saw potential in the meatless, McPlant-based market. Mickey D’s hasn't yet confirmed the supplier, but it won't be making it itself.


McDonald's wants all the attention... If Beyond is supplying, that could mean a lucrative long-term partnership with America's largest restaurant by sales — would be nice, considering Beyond lost $19M last quarter. But McDonald's clearly isn't showcasing Beyond's brand with McPlant — unlike Dunkin' with the Beyond Breakfast sandwich. Beyond might be willing to go anonymous and trade brand recognition for cash recognition.


Soulless name... soulful brand. VF Corp is the unfortunately-named company which owns Vans, North Face, Dickies, and soon... Supreme. The popular streetwear/skater brand is best known for its iconic red logo that appears everywhere. Now:

  • Supreme is getting bought for $2.1B and will become part of VF's publicly-traded stock. It's VF's largest acquisition since it snatched up Timberland in 2011 for $2.3B.
  • VF stock jumped as much as 17% yesterday on the news — the most in over 30 years. But it's still down over 20% this year.

Googling "how to be cool"... Slap a Supreme sticker on it. Supreme reeks with "cool factor" — that's something VF needs badly, since most of its brands are past their early 2000s Avril Lavigne peak. Vans and Timbs sales are slowing, and VF has already sold off some of its "declining cool" and industrial workwear brands: Wrangler, Lee, and 7 For All Mankind.


This is a learn-cquisition... Supreme is a master at generating hype, with everything from weekly product releases to buzzy collabs — VF wants to learn its ways. It'll also leverage Supreme's digital strategy and social media prowess to expand its ecommerce channels (#linkinbio). But Supreme's biggest appeal is scarcity. If VF scales it up too much, it might lose that "special" factor — then they'd both lose.

What else we’re Snackin’
  • Channel5: Netflix tests its first traditional channel offering in France to reduce the choice paralysis of picking a show.
  • Future: Two people finished the 1st-ever ride in a Virgin Hyperloop tube. It's like a subway pod shooting super fast through a tube.
  • High: Aurora Cannabis shares surged on better-than-expected sales and the Biden win. Investors are hoping for pro-pot reform.
  • Trucked: Electric truck-maker Nikola lost $118M last quarter, compared to $16M in the same quarter last year.
  • Meds: Biogen stock plunged nearly 30% after an FDA panel voted against its experimental Alzheimer's treatment.
  • Jet: United Airlines boosts its Thanksgiving flight schedule as it expects the most travelers since March.

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Snacks Daily Podcast

"We’re only 3 software upgrades away from robots being podcast hosts."

The battle with robots for the future of work poses an existential threat to many jobs. But Team Human just scored a big win against Team Robo at Walmart.

Tune into our digestible 15-minute pod to hear why robot shelf-stockers got the boot (besides being extremely freaky).


Disclosure: Authors of this Snacks own shares of Apple and Moderna

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