💉 Moderna's big(ger) vax announcement

Tuesday, November 17, 2020 by Robinhood Snacks | Disclosures

The big checkmate

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Hey Snackers,

SpaceX's historic NASA flight included an adorable guest: Baby Yoda. Astronauts brought The Child onboard as a “zero-gravity indicator." Strong, The Force of gravity is.

In other Elon-related news: Tesla is joining the famous S&P 500 index. Meanwhile, the Dow hit a record high yesterday on more promising vax news.

1. Moderna makes big vax news, and logistics companies could benefit

When you get a 90% on the test… and your friend immediately mentions they got a 95%. Last week, Pfizer and BioNTech announced that their COVID-19 vaccine was more than 90% effective in final-stage trials (huge). Yesterday, Moderna said its vaccine was more than 94% effective, according to early results (huge-er). Moderna's vax is also easier to store, temperature-wise. But how soon could a vax get approved and start shipping?

  • Moderna plans to request emergency FDA approval by early December. Pfizer could seek emergency use authorization this month.
  • If Moderna gets the greenlight, it could start distributing in December with 20M doses ready to ship by end of year.
  • Potato, not potatoe: Pfizer is a 170-year-old pharma with 300+ drugs on the market. Moderna's a 10-year-old biotech that has never sold a single drug.

But they have one thing in common... Moderna and Pfizer both have mRNA vaccines, which are faster and cheaper to make than traditional vaccines — but have never been approved for human use. Both have said they're planning to sell for profit, while some traditional vax frontrunners like AstraZeneca pledged to initially sell "at cost" (no profit). But Pharma isn’t the only industry that could be poised to profit...


Logistics companies could benefit (big)... Distributing the vaccine will be a massive undertaking, and airlines and shipping companies will likely be key to that. Providing a single dose to 7.8B people will require 8K Boeing 747 cargo planes. Delta and UPS are already gearing up by expanding their cooling facilities for vaccine storage/shipment. Pharma products are one of the most profitable cargo types, so this could be a huge financial opportunity.


Googling: "How long can human go on 4 hours sleep"... Don't worry, Casper's right there with ya. The direct-to-consumer mattress company was a unicorn before it went public back in February. Now its valuation has dropped from $1.1B to just over $250M (quarter-corn?). Casper lost more sleep yesterday when its stock plunged 14% after earnings.

  • Casper's sales fell 3%, even though time spent in bed probably increased 1,000% (#work-from-bed). And it's still dreaming of profit. Buuut...
  • Casper saw record website traffic last quarter, pointing to record interest in its mattresses. People were browsing Casper.com to upgrade their takeout-in-bed game.

Sounds counterintuitive.... But it makes sense. Casper's sales fail wasn't due to weak demand, but to weak supply. Many mattresses were out-of-stock for weeks at a time, meaning Casper couldn't ship out enough to meet demand. Casper blamed supply chain challenges like fabric and foam chemical shortages. It should really blame its lack of vertical integration:

  • Vertical integration is when a company owns multiple stages of production in its supply chain. Apple just got more vertically integrated by ditching Intel to put its own Apple-made chips in Macs.

Controlling your supply chain helps control your destiny... Vertical integration can help lower costs, boost profitability, and avoid situations like Casper's. Casper isn't vertically integrated. That puts it at a disadvantage compared to competitors like Purple, which largely controls its manufacturing and saw sales jump 60% last quarter. Purple stock has nearly 3X'd in value this year while Casper is down by half.

What else we’re Snackin’
  • IPO: Airbnb released its S-1 filing to go public, revealing it made $219M in profit last quarter.
  • Bust: Experts predict birth rates will fall, so Procter & Gamble and Nestle are bracing for a pandemic drop in diaper and baby food sales.
  • Trade: China signed a huge Asia-aPacific free trade deal with 14 countries (US not included).
  • Belly: Gourmet food deliverer Goldbelly has nearly 2X'd its restaurant and customer count in 2020 — and it just added NYC's Momofuku.
  • Nuggy: Chicken nugget legend Tyson beat earnings estimates last quarter thanks to an uptick in beef and pork demand.

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Snacks Daily Podcast

Claaassic Southwest move... Playing offense while rivals are playing defense.

Southwest Airlines is doing some mid-pandemic land-grabbing. It's adding four more cities to its network this year and has plans for another six in 2021.

Southwest's cost-cutting, no-frills culture lets it seize opportunities while its airline rivals struggle for cash.


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

ID: 1415624

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