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A roundup of some of the North American equities making moves in both directions today

On the rise

Novavax Inc. (NVAX-Q) jumped after it reported late-stage data from its U.S.-based clinical trial showing its vaccine is more than 90-per-cent effective against COVID-19 across a variety of variants of the virus.

The study of nearly 30,000 volunteers in the United States and Mexico puts Novavax on track to file for emergency authorization in the United States and elsewhere in the third quarter of 2021, the company said.

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Novavax’s protein-based COVID-19 vaccine candidate was more than 93% effective against the predominant variants of COVID-19 that have been of concern among scientists and public health officials, Novavax said.

Protein-based vaccines are a conventional approach that use purified pieces of the virus to spur an immune response and vaccines again whooping cough and shingles employ this approach.

During the trial, the B.1.1.7 variant first discovered in the United Kingdom became the most common variant in the United States, it said.

Novavax also detected variants of COVID-19 first found in Brazil, South Africa and India among its trial participants, Novavax’s head of research and development, Dr. Gregory Glenn, told Reuters.

iTeos Therapeutics Inc. (ITOS-Q) soared in the wake of Britain’s GlaxoSmithKline Plc (GSK-N) agreeing to pay it up to US$2-billion to develop and sell a potential cancer treatment together.

Boston-based iTeos will receive a US$625-million upfront payment and is eligible to get up to US$1.45-billion more if the programme meets certain development and commercial milestones.

GlaxoSmithKline is under pressure to shore up its drug pipeline after a report that U.S. activist investor Elliott built up a significant stake in the company. The British drugmaker is also preparing to outline plans to split its consumer products business from its drug operations.

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The iTeos deal is to develop EOS-448, a monoclonal antibody using an anti-TIGIT agent which showed promise in early studies.

Anti-TIGIT treatments are new experimental immunotherapies against certain cancer types. These treatments, including Roche’s tiragolumab and Merck & Co’s vibostolimab, are designed to deactivate a tumour’s ability to evade the immune system.

On the decline

Recipe Unlimited Corp. (RECP-T) closed lower in the wake of announcing it has signed a deal to sell its Milestones chain of restaurants to Quebec-based Foodtastic Inc.

Financial terms of the deal were not immediately available.

Recipe chief executive Frank Hennessey says the deal helps the company further rationalize its portfolio to focus on large brands.

The company’s banners include Swiss Chalet, Harvey’s, St-Hubert, the Keg, Montana’s, Kelsey’s, East Side Mario’s and New York Fries.

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Foodtastic, a franchisor of multiple restaurant brands, bought the Second Cup Coffee Co. chain from Aegis Brands Inc. earlier this year.

Some of its other restaurant brands include Au Coq, La Belle et La Boeuf, Monza, Carlos & Pepe’s, Souvlaki Bar and Nickels.

Cronos Group Inc. (CRON-T) reversed course and fell lower in Monday trading after announcing a strategic investment in Chicago’s PharmaCann Inc., one of the largest vertically integrated cannabis companies in the United States.

Under the agreement, Cronos has purchased to acquire an approximately 10.5-per-cent ownership stake in a deal valued at US$110.4-million.

In a research note, Raymond James analyst Rahul Sarugaser said: “CRON’s deal with PharmaCann bears more hallmarks of a strategic investment; CRON’s deal was made more than two years after CGC’s, winning CRON valuable perspective on the evolution of U.S. politics, the U.S. cannabis market, and companies therein.”

Hexo Corp. (HEXO-T) fell after it reported a loss of $20.7-million in its latest quarter compared with a loss of $19.5-million in the same quarter last year.

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The cannabis company says the loss amounted to 17 cents per diluted share for the quarter ended April 30 compared with a loss of 26 cents per diluted share a year earlier when it had fewer shares outstanding.

Net revenue totalled $22.7-million, up from $22.1-million in the same quarter last year.

Hexo has made a series of acquisitions this year in a bid to grow market share.

Last month, Hexo announced an agreement to buy cannabis producer Redecan for $925-million in cash and shares as well as another deal to buy 48North Cannabis Corp. for $50 million.

In February, it said it would spend $235-million to buy Zenabis Global Inc. and its Namaste, Re-Up, Blazery and Founders Reserve brands.

Stelco Holdings Inc. (STLC-T) was flat after S&P Dow Jones Indices said it will return to Canada’s primary stock index nearly two decades after its predecessor company was delisted.

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On Friday, the manager of the S&P/TSX Composite Index said Stelco will be added prior to the open of trading on June 21. It will be joined by payment-technology company Nuvei Corp. (NVEI-T), which at recent springtime highs had more than doubled from its initial public offering prices just eight months prior.

The other additions are Capstone Mining Corp. (CS-T) and insurer Trisura Group Ltd. (TSU-T).

The deletions are AcuityAds Holdings Inc. (AT-T) and Endeavour Mining Corp. (EDV-T).

- David Milstead

Ohio-based Lordstown Motors Corp. (RIDE-Q) plummeted after it said on Monday Chief Executive Steve Burns and Chief Financial Officer Julio Rodriguez have resigned, days after the electric-truck maker warned that it may not have enough cash to stay in business over the next year.

The company added that its lead independent director, Angela Strand, has been appointed executive chairwoman and would oversee the firm’s transition until a permanent CEO is identified.

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Lordstown named Becky Roof, who had previously served as interim CFO at numerous companies including Eastman Kodak and Hudson’s Bay Co, was named interim finance chief of Lordstown effective immediately.

Since the going-concern warning last week, the company has allayed some worries by saying it was in talks with multiple parties to raise funds.

The drop was the latest sign of a recent retreat in the once high flying electric vehicle sector, whose ranks have been swollen by the recent boom in special purpose acquisition companies, or SPACS.

Lordstown and Nikola (NKLA-Q), which both went public via acquisitions by SPACS - shell companies that use their IPO proceeds to acquire private firms - have lost ground this year.

With files from staff and wires

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