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Top VC deals: DocuSign goes public, Square acquires Weebly, and Revolut draws a $1.7 billion valuation

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Our coronavirus vaccine triggers adult immune response

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A test tube labelled vaccine is seen in front of AstraZeneca logo in this illustration taken, September 9, 2020.

Dado Ruvic | Reuters

LONDON — British pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca on Monday said its potential Covid-19 vaccine has produced a similar immune response in older and younger adults.

AstraZeneca, which is developing its potential Covid-19 vaccine in collaboration with the University of Oxford, said adverse responses to the vaccine among the elderly were also found to be lower.

The World Health Organization has said that older people, in addition to people of all ages with preexisting medical conditions, appear to develop serious illness on contracting the coronavirus more often than others.

The announcement is likely to boost hopes of a Covid vaccine being developed before the end of the year.

“It is encouraging to see immunogenicity responses were similar between older and younger adults and that reactogenicity was lower in older adults, where the COVID-19 disease severity is higher,” an AstraZeneca spokesman told CNBC via email.

“The results further build the body of evidence for the safety and immunogenicity of AZD1222,” the spokesman said, referring to the technical name of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine.

Shares of the company rose 1% in Monday’s U.S. premarket.

Drugmakers and research centers are scrambling to deliver a safe and effective vaccine in an attempt to bring an end to the coronavirus pandemic that has claimed over 1.15 million lives.

Dozens of candidate vaccines are in clinical evaluation, according to the World Health Organization, with some already conducting late-stage tests before seeking formal approval.

The vaccine being developed by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca is thought to be one of the frontrunners to secure regulatory approval.

AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soirot has previously said the drugmaker’s vaccine would likely provide protection against contracting the coronavirus for about a year.

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Ant Group to raise $34.5 billion in the biggest IPO of all time

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The Ant Group logo and the Alibaba Group logo are displayed at the company’s headquarters in Hangzhou, China.

Qilai Shen | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Ant Group will raise $34.5 billion in its dual initial public offering (IPO) after setting the price for its shares on Monday, making it the biggest listing of all time.

The Chinese financial technology giant previously said it would split its stock issuance equally across Shanghai and Hong Kong, issuing 1.67 billion new shares in each location.

Ant Group’s Shanghai-listed shares will be priced at 68.8 yuan each. The issuing of 1.67 billion shares will raise 114.94 billion yuan or $17.23 billion, according to the exchange rate listed in the official filings.

The Hong Kong-listed shares have been priced at 80 Hong Kong dollars each, raising 133.65 billion Hong Kong dollars or $17.24 billion.

The listing will raise a total of just under $34.5 billion, with the possibility for that figure to go higher if the so-called over-allotment option is exercised, depending on demand. It makes it the largest IPO of all time, putting it ahead of previous record holder Saudi Aramco, which raised just over $29 billion.

Ant’s valuation based on the pricing will be $313.37 billion, larger than some of the biggest banks in the U.S., including Goldman Sachs and Wells Fargo.

The Chinese company previously said that strategic investors have agreed to subscribe to 80% of the company’s Shanghai-issued shares. Alibaba, via its subsidiary Zhejiang Tmall Technology, has agreed to buy 730 million A-shares, which are yuan-denominated shares of Chinese companies listed in mainland exchanges. This will allow Alibaba to maintain its roughly 33% stake in Ant Group.

Ant’s pricing comes after regulators in mainland China and Hong Kong gave the green light for the listing last week.

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SAP market cap plunges by $30 billion as coronavirus takes its toll

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A company logo is attached to the headquarters of the SAP software group.

Uwe Anspach | picture alliance | Getty Images

LONDON — German enterprise software group SAP saw its market valuation fall by 25 billion euros ($30 billion) on Monday as shares collapsed by over 17% following disappointing third-quarter results.

The company, which slashed its revenue forecast for 2020, saw its market cap fall from 125 billion euros to 100 billion euros and it is on track for its worst trading day in 12 years.

SAP said coronavirus lockdowns would affect demand for its business relations and customer management software well into 2021 as it announced that it plans to go all-in on cloud computing.

The firm is abandoning medium-term profitability targets and it warned that it will take longer than expected to recover from the pandemic.

“As the CEO of SAP, I have to be focused on the long-term value creation of this company,” SAP Chief Executive Christian Klein told CNBC’s “Squawk Box Europe” on Monday.

“So I cannot trade the success of our customers and the significant revenue potential of SAP against short-term margin optimization.”

JPMorgan cut its price target for SAP to 120 from 160 euros, and downgraded the stock to “neutral” from “overweight.”

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