Daily Archives: September 3, 2020

CreditSights makes Strategic Investment in Alphastream

New York, New York, Sept. 03, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — CreditSights, a leading provider of independent fixed income research today announced that it has taken a minority stake in Alphastream, a fintech company based in Singapore. As part of the investment, Bala Subramanian, Chief Product and Technology Officer of CreditSights, will join Alphastream’s board.

Alphastream develops next generation data and technology platforms powered by artificial intelligence and machine learning that are aimed at transforming the way the financial services industry acquires and consumes information from a variety of sources. CreditSights’ close collaboration with Alphastream will help drive new product innovation and business expansion.

“We are delighted to partner with Alphastream and are excited about the opportunity to leverage their AI/ML capabilities to enhance our research, content and analytics,” said Peter Petas, CEO of CreditSights. “CreditSights’ twenty-year track record has been underpinned in delivering relevant research that resonates with the most sophisticated financial professionals. AlphaStream’s platforms will complement our mission to help our clients know more and risk better,” noted Chris Ucko, President of CreditSights.

Alphastream technology empowers financial professionals by delivering mission critical data and workflow solutions to a wide range of market participants using a cloud-based software platform.

Nitin Nath, co-founder and CEO of Alphastream added, “We are thrilled to partner with CreditSights whose long-running expertise in global financial markets will serve as valuable input into the design and development of our next generation solutions.”

About CreditSights

CreditSights empowers nearly 15,000 financial professionals among the world’s largest institutions with the credit-risk tools, independent research and comprehensive market insights they need to make well-informed credit-risk decisions. Setting the standard for global credit research since 2000, CreditSights provides timely data, news, recommendations and unbiased analysis of the investment-grade and high-yield debt securities of 1,200 issuers around the world. CreditSights delivers this content through innovative platforms, enabling market participants to know more, risk better and ultimately create value.

About Alphastream

Alphastream is an Artificial Intelligence and Data Services company specialized in the Capital Markets domain. We have been creating new possibilities with data through intelligent and contextual data extraction with high precision. Alphastream proprietary algorithms understand various types of unstructured data and digitize every bit of information from a diverse range of reports and deliver in a standard format. The technology team comprises of specialists in Natural language processing and Machine Learning who work along with Financial Services industry professionals. Our customers rely on us for timely, accurate and reliable data presented in a standardized format for easy analysis.

Attachment

Amanda Loveday
CreditSights
(803) 315-5837
aloveday@creditsights.com

Nitin Nath
ALPHASTREAM
+65 8139 9421
sales@alphastream.ai

Novavax Announces Publication of Phase 1 Data for COVID-19 Vaccine Candidate in The New England Journal of Medicine

NVX-CoV2373 was generally well-tolerated and elicited robust antibody responses numerically superior to that seen in human convalescent sera

GAITHERSBURG, Md., Sept. 02, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Novavax, Inc. (Nasdaq: NVAX), a late stage biotechnology company developing next-generation vaccines for serious infectious diseases, today announced the publication in The New England Journal of Medicine of Phase 1 data from its Phase 1/2 clinical trial of NVX‑CoV2373, its COVID‑19 vaccine candidate adjuvanted with Matrix‑M™, in healthy adults 18-59 years of age. The publication offers further detail on the previously announced results, in which NVX‑CoV2373 demonstrated a reassuring safety and reactogenicity profile and induced robust antibody responses numerically superior to that seen in human convalescent sera. The manuscript is available at https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa2026920?query=featured_coronavirus.

“The rapid publication of Phase 1 results from our trial in a prestigious peer-reviewed journal reflects both the importance of the data and the urgent need for an effective vaccine to slow the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Gregory M. Glenn, M.D., President of Research and Development at Novavax. “Based on the positive Phase 1 results, we have begun multiple Phase 2 clinical trials, from which we expect to collect preliminary efficacy. Novavax is committed to generating the safety, immunogenicity and efficacy data that will support confident usage of the vaccine, both in the US and globally, and the data published today further bolsters our conviction that this is possible.”

The Phase 1 portion of the Phase 1/2 clinical trial was randomized, observer-blinded, and placebo-controlled.

NVX-CoV2373 is currently in multiple Phase 2 clinical trials. The Phase 2 portion of the Phase 1/2 clinical trial to evaluate the safety and immunogenicity of NVX-CoV2373 began in August in the United States and Australia, and expands on the age range of the Phase 1 portion by including older adults 60-84 years of age as approximately 50 percent of the trial population. Secondary objectives include preliminary evaluation of efficacy. In addition, a Phase 2b clinical trial to assess efficacy began in South Africa in August.

The trial was supported by funding from the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and was conducted at two sites in Australia.

Phase 1 Results Summary

  • NVX-CoV2373 was well-tolerated and reactogenicity events were generally mild
  • There were no severe (Grade 3) unsolicited adverse events (AEs); the vast majority of AEs were mild and deemed not related to vaccination. No serious AEs were reported. Safety follow-up continues.
  • All subjects in the 5 µg group developed anti-spike IgG antibodies after a single dose of vaccine, many of which included neutralizing antibody responses to wild-type virus
  • 100 percent of participants developed wild-type virus neutralizing antibody responses after Dose 2
  • Both 5 µg and 25 adjuvanted doses generated peak geometric mean titer (GMT) greater than 1:3,300
  • Anti-spike IgG and viral neutralization responses compared favorably to responses from patients with clinically significant COVID‑19 disease
  • Matrix-M adjuvant was dose-sparing, with the lower 5 µg dose of NVX‑CoV2373 performing comparably with the of 25 µg dose
  • Cellular immune responses measured in a subset of participants demonstrated induction of antigen-specific polyfunctional CD4+ T cell responses with a strong Th1 phenotype bias
  • NVX-CoV2373 has a favorable product profile; it is stable and will allow handling in a liquid formulation that can be stored at 2°C to 8°C, allowing for successful cold chain management with existing infrastructure

Further details may be found in Novavax’ August 4 announcement of Phase 1 results and may be accessed here.

About NVX-CoV2373

NVX‑CoV2373 is a vaccine candidate engineered from the genetic sequence of SARS‑CoV‑2, the virus that causes COVID-19 disease. NVX‑CoV2373 was created using Novavax’ recombinant nanoparticle technology to generate antigen derived from the coronavirus spike (S) protein and contains Novavax’ patented saponin-based Matrix-M™ adjuvant to enhance the immune response and stimulate high levels of neutralizing antibodies. In preclinical trials, NVX‑CoV2373 demonstrated indication of antibodies that block binding of spike protein to receptors targeted by the virus, a critical aspect for effective vaccine protection. In its Phase 1 portion of the Phase 1/2 clinical trial, NVX‑CoV2373 was generally well-tolerated and elicited robust antibody responses numerically superior to that seen in human convalescent sera. Phase 2 clinical trials began in August 2020. Novavax has secured $2 billion in funding for its global coronavirus vaccine program, including up to $388 million in funding from the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI).

About Matrix-M™

Novavax’ patented saponin-based Matrix-M™ adjuvant has demonstrated a potent and well-tolerated effect by stimulating the entry of antigen-presenting cells into the injection site and enhancing antigen presentation in local lymph nodes, boosting immune response.

About Novavax

Novavax, Inc. (Nasdaq:NVAX) is a late-stage biotechnology company that promotes improved health globally through the discovery, development, and commercialization of innovative vaccines to prevent serious infectious diseases. Novavax is undergoing clinical trials for NVX-CoV2373, its vaccine candidate against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. NanoFlu™, its quadrivalent influenza nanoparticle vaccine, met all primary objectives in its pivotal Phase 3 clinical trial in older adults. Both vaccine candidates incorporate Novavax’ proprietary saponin-based Matrix-M™ adjuvant in order to enhance the immune response and stimulate high levels of neutralizing antibodies. Novavax is a leading innovator of recombinant vaccines; its proprietary recombinant technology platform combines the power and speed of genetic engineering to efficiently produce highly immunogenic nanoparticles in order to address urgent global health needs.

For more information, visit www.novavax.com and connect with us on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Novavax Forward-Looking Statements

Statements herein relating to the future of Novavax and the ongoing development of its vaccine and adjuvant products are forward-looking statements. Novavax cautions that these forward-looking statements are subject to numerous risks and uncertainties, which could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such statements. These risks and uncertainties include those identified under the heading “Risk Factors” in the Novavax Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2019, and Quarterly Report on Form 8-K for the period ended June 30, 2020, as filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). We caution investors not to place considerable reliance on forward-looking statements contained in this press release. You are encouraged to read our filings with the SEC, available at sec.gov, for a discussion of these and other risks and uncertainties. The forward-looking statements in this press release speak only as of the date of this document, and we undertake no obligation to update or revise any of the statements. Our business is subject to substantial risks and uncertainties, including those referenced above. Investors, potential investors, and others should give careful consideration to these risks and uncertainties.

Contacts:

Novavax

Investors
Silvia Taylor and Erika Trahan
ir@novavax.com
240-268-2022

Media
Brandzone/KOGS Communication
Edna Kaplan
kaplan@kogspr.com
617-974-8659

International CCS Knowledge Centre: 92.4% Capture Rate at Petra Nova – that’s a CCS Success

PETRA NOVA PLANT

Carbon Capture Facility at Petra Nova WA Parish Station

The following commentary by Corwyn Bruce, P.Eng. is a statement on behalf of the International CCS Knowledge Centre.

Define success. If it’s consistently capturing 90 percent of the CO2, I’d say, they made it.

REGINA, Saskatchewan, Sept. 02, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — With the focus on the impact of oil prices on the Petra Nova decision to suspend its carbon capture and storage (CCS) operations, I want to bring to the forefront a focus on its operational success.

Quiet assessments found through sound technical reviews can often lack the acknowledgement deserved in innovation, retooling, and optimization. This is the case with the CCS facility at Petra Nova (a joint initiative by NRG & JX Nippon). Some commentaries on the facility say there was a lot of down time in the first three years; however, if you take it from someone who’s been there, I can tell you this project deserves celebration.

I have the opportunity to offer a unique perspective having been part of the engineering team that designed and built the carbon capture system at SaskPower’s Boundary Dam 3 CCS Facility (BD3) –  where by integrating it with a coal-fired power plant, it became the first in the world of this nature. I also have the privilege of not only continuing to advise on the optimization of that plant, but to lead a team at the International CCS Knowledge Centre in sharing the lessons learned around the world to support the deployment of next generation CCS facilities and to help meet global climate targets.

While it is important to understand that there may be external impeding factors –  such as market forces, electricity prices, and price of oil, that have impacted the decision to place Petra Nova in a reserve shutdown status – as experts in carbon capture, I want underscore the viability of the technology and why it works.

THIS PLANT IS DESIGNED TO MEET ITS GOALS. AND IT DOES.

The great news is that Petra Nova logs-in with a 92.4% capture efficiency (Petra Nova’s final technical reporti submitted to US Department of Energy) which not only surpasses its 90% target, but points to the plant’s long-term reliability for the capture process. The CCS facility operates well and has overcome many of the risk items that have proven to be a challenge in other installations.

As a matter of fact, Petra Nova’s capture facility is tight to its performance metrics even exceeding them in positive ways. So, the plant does what it was set out to do and then some. In addition to the higher than expected capture rate, salient points include: lower power consumption and steam requirements than anticipated; CO2 purity beyond the 99% required; and a volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions rate at 2.8 tonnes per year – which surpasses the Rules in Title 30, of the Texas Administrative Code for the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for ozone.ii

Furthermore, the amine consumption meets its specifications. The amine chemicals used in solvent-based capture systems are prone to breaking down and losing their ability to complete the chemical reactions that separate the CO2 from the flue gas stream.  This would be evidenced by declining capture rates, higher chemical replacement, and increased maintenance costs.  The carbon capture facility at Petra Nova doesn’t report an issue with amine consumption being higher than anticipated.

Part of our learning curve at BD3 was to master the unforeseen that stems from being a first-out-of-the-gate project. We were able to improve safety and improve reliability, allowing focus to shift to increasing the capacity and reducing the cost of running the facility. It appears at Petra Nova; however, the overall output of the plant is fine – better than fine. So, when it is up and operating it can consistently hit or exceed its targets. Sharing valuable learnings is part of what we’ve been able to offer to Petra Nova – it is important to mark the successes and continue to see that CCS facility in operation.

READY AND AVAILABLE

Like the experience at BD3, the availability of Petra Nova’s capture facility shows a steady improvement over a trajectory of time. When we are talking about a CCS plant – performance, availability, and reliability are all part of that conversation. More often than not, and as we have seen at both Petra Nova and BD3, the amount of CO2 captured isn’t a necessary indicator of the capture facility’s reliability. In fact, downtime has been shown to be related to many non-capture plant issues. Let’s not forget when in 2018 the Boundary Dam power station got hit by a severe storm or when Hurricane Harvey caused Petra Nova to have downtime.

Upon examining the technical data, the carbon capture process was only responsible for a minor portion of the days of outages of the plant. In 2017, Petra Nova’s first year of operation, – similar to any new project requiring boot-up time to adjust the operations – the capture process was responsible for 41 days of total lost time (in full day equivalents). In 2018, that reduced to 34 days; and in 2019, it was reduced again to 29 days. So, for a second in the world and first at this scale, 29 days out of 365 equates to a 92-93% availability – which after only three years of running – is a great thing! Especially, considering that equipment in this scale of plant often requires long lead times due to its large size and specialized nature, which can add to the time to make any changes.

The remaining outages at Petra Nova were related to other factors, specifically, the cogeneration facility, the coal unit, the oil field, and the weather. It is important not to confuse the reliability of the CO2 capture plant with that of a cogeneration plant, which provides the steam to run the process.

Comparatively, for the month of July, BD3 records show that the CCS facility was online 99.8% of the month, coming offline for 1.5 hours when a booster fan temporarily stopped due to water cooling issues.iii During July, the facility captured 75,503 tonnes of CO2 with an average daily capture rate (when the plant was online) recorded at 2,435 tonnes per day, with a peak one-day capture rate of 2,627 tonnes.

There is vital role for pioneering projects such as BD3 and Petra Nova; they offer a platform for substantial improvements in the next round. As noted in the report on second generation CCS, the Shand CCS Feasibility Studyiv experience points to adaptations in design to see performance improvements right off the hop.

MOVING PAST 1ST GEN CHALLENGES

In further reviewing Petra Nova’s technical report, we could identify with familiar challenges as they closely mirrored our experience at BD3.  Many of the things that appeared as issues, and then were subsequently dealt with, had also been dealt with at BD3. This is important learnings that we’d like to offer and see applied to new plants because these preventive steps will increase assurance and reduce costs and risks.

It is important to note that the reported reliability issues that were consistent at both plants were all mechanical issues (not chemistry). Reliability of mechanical equipment in any industrial facility typically follows this same maturity curve. This is great news because mechanical issues are solvable, and they, in fact, have been solved along the way. This has built both the depth in our experience and understanding as well as informing our next iterations in design. Working with anyone who wants to build a CCS plant, these are the things we can ensure are not repeated.

For example, downtime can be majorly shortened with redundancy. Until CCS has more iterations globally to gain more knowledge, some redundancies will be smart considerations. One redundancy of note was the reliability of plate and frame heat exchangers, which at both Petra Nova and BD3, contributed to performance degradation and downtime. At BD3 this was largely remedied by 2018.

Another example of a reliability issue common to both CCS plants was the development of scaling on the back of booster fan blades. This scaling caused vibrations and ultimately a shutdown in operations for cleaning. Since the resolution at BD3, we have been consulted and have advised Petra Nova and other clients on a solution that is easy and inexpensive to fix.

A third example was issues with the CO2 compressor intercoolers with a mismatch in the compatibility of materials. Although manifesting differently, both Petra Nova and BD3 had issues with the materials of construction for the CO2 compressor intercoolers. This highlights the value of hands-on experience and the essential knowledge gained that we have to offer clients in understanding the proper and robust materials for next builds.

The consistency in the redundancy and reliability issues point out three important tendencies: 1) experience shows the necessity of working through first generation technology; 2) success and adaptations demonstrate that reliability improves over time; and, 3) we now know how to resolve issues and continue to learn – leaping advancements in carbon capture for second generation.

EMISSIONS AREN’T IDLE

The suspension of operations at Petra Nova means emissions are now being vented into the atmosphere while the capture plant sits idle. There is a meaningful role for CCS in the power sector (responsible for 32% global CO2 emissions).v  To limit global warming to 1.5°C, large-scale, emissions-intensive, industrial and power generation processes must be significantly decarbonized. CCS can do this.

It is mind boggling from a scientific/engineering perspective that there is yet to be a resounding ‘yes’ in the uptake of new CCS facilities and the continued operations of existing ones when the technology is a demonstrated success and advancing rapidly for easy deployment with reduced risk and costs.

Corwyn Bruce the Vice-President, Project Development and Advisory Services for the International CCS Knowledge Centre, with hands-on expertise in working on the BD3 CCS facility and is the lead author of the Shand CCS Feasibility Study. 

About the International CCS Knowledge Centre (Knowledge Centre): with a mandate to advance the global understanding and deployment of large-scale CCS to reduce global GHG emissions, the Knowledge Centre provides the know-how to implement large-scale CCS projects as well as CCS optimization through the base learnings from both the fully-integrated Boundary Dam 3 CCS Facility and the comprehensive second-generation CCS study, known as the Shand Study. Operating since 2016 under the direction of an independent board, the Knowledge Centre was established by BHP and SaskPower. For more info: https://ccsknowledge.com/

Media Contacts

International CCS Knowledge Centre
Jodi Woollam
Head of Communications & Media Relations
jwoollam@ccsknowledge.com
T: +1-306-565-5956 / M: +1-306-520-3710

ccsknowledge.com
Twitter: @CCSKnowledge
198 – 10 Research Drive Regina, SK S4S 7J7
Canada

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i W.A. Parish Post-Combustion CO2 Capture and Sequestration Demonstration Project Final Technical Report as submitted to DOE, https://www.osti.gov/biblio/1608572-parish-post-combustion-co2-capture-sequestration-demonstration-project-final-technical-report

ii Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, https://www.tceq.texas.gov/

iii SaskPower, BD3 Status Update: July 2020, 12AUG20, https://www.saskpower.com/about-us/our-company/blog/bd3-status-update-july-2020

iv Shand CCS Feasibility Study, https://ccsknowledge.com/initiatives/2nd-generation-ccs—shand-study

v International Energy Agency, Energy Technology Perspectives 2017, https://www.iea.org/reports/energy-technology-perspectives-2017

A photo accompanying this announcement is available at https://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/9fb5e6d2-cd7e-42f3-8534-9a8c500efca0