The R&D World Index (RDWI) for the week ending November 17, 2023, closed at 3,066.65 for the 25 companies in the RDWI. The Index was up 0.84% (or 25.55 basis points). Twenty-one RDWI members gained value last week from 0.05% (Microsoft) to 12.74% (Intel) Four RDWI members lost value last week from -0.21% (AbbVie) to -9.18% (Cisco).
The combined R&D investments of three South Korean battery makers for the first nine months of 2023 increased 12.5% to $1.38 billion from the same period in 2022 according to news examining quarterly reports released last week from Yonhap News Agency, Seoul, South Korea. Samsung SDI led the three companies with $0.65 billion invested in R&D, while LG Energy Solution invested $0.57 billion and SK On invested $0.17 billion. These South Korean companies are focusing on developing high-capacity, high-safety, and long-lasting batteries as well as enhancing the development of price-competitive lithium iron phosphate and cobalt-free batteries.
Robotic surgery system developer Vicarious Surgical, Waltham, Massachusetts, announced last week that it would have an indeterminate layoff by the end of 2023, following a 14% reduction in force at the beginning of the year. The latest round of layoffs will affect R&D to outsourced spending. These layoffs will set back the system’s development timeline by 12 to 18 months according to the company which was initially expected to be completed by the end of 2023, followed by clinical trials in 2024 and a de novo submission to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2025. Reasons for the layoffs were cited as challenging marketing conditions.
A British lobby group, The Startup Coalition, London, published a report last week stating that there are “severe failings” in the current British regime that are losing small businesses an average of 100,000 pounds ($125,000) a year. The U.K.’s Chancellor of the Exchequer (equivalent to that of finance minister in other countries), Jeremy Hunt, scaled back R&D credits in 2022 designed to curb fraud and boost the British treasury’s tax income. However, the amount of R&D spending that new startups could claim was slashed from 33% to 18.6%. This resulted in those small companies looking outside of the U.K. to other countries.
Intelligent power management company Eaton, Dublin, Ireland, announced last week the opening of its newest global Innovation Center near Montreal, Canada. With this 35,000-ft2 space, the company aims to accelerate the R&D of distributed energy resource technologies enabling sustainable electricity for buildings, homes, industry, and the electric grid. The center will house about 150 specialized jobs. Researchers in the center will continue to establish R&D relationships with ETS Montreal, Polytechnique Montreal, Universite de Sherbrooke, McGill University, and the University of Montreal. Eaton plans to invest about $3 billion in R&D by 2030.
RDW Index member Honda, Tokyo, and Ohio State University (OSU), Columbus, announced last week that they will establish a new battery cell R&D center in OSU’s innovation district. The project will include the renovation of a 25,000 ft2 facility into a battery cell research, production, and education support facility. The Institute for Materials and Manufacturing Research will manage and operate the center at OSU. Honda will serve as lead foundational partner for the project and has committed $15 million. $4.5 million in U.S. federal funding was secured through the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), Gaithersburg, Maryland.
ExxonMobil, Houston, announced last week that it is starting to drill for lithium in Arkansas and aims to become a major U.S. supplier for makers of electric-vehicle (EV) batteries by 2030. The company purchased earlier this year drilling rights on 120,000 acres in southwest Arkansas and looks to profitably scale up technology that extracts lithium from underground saltwater that is abundant in defunct oil fields in this area. Consultants estimate that this project could have the equivalent of 4 million tons of lithium carbonate, which is enough to power 50 million EVs.
Siemens Energy, Munich, Germany, reported last week that it is reviewing the structure of its troubled global wind turbine business and taking measures to strengthen its balance sheet following a net loss in its current fiscal year. Quality issues in the onshore business, increased product costs, and ramp-up challenges in offshore locations had a severe negative financial impact and are likely to continue affecting profitability in the near to mid-term. Break-even in this division is now not expected until fiscal 2026.
RDW Index member Alibaba, Hangzhou, China, announced last week that it was scrapping its plan to spin-off and list its cloud-computing division. The company cited the impact of export controls that took effect in October 2023 which may materially and adversely affect the cloud business’s ability to offer products and services and to perform under existing contracts. Instead, Alibaba will now focus on the division’s growth. The company initially planned to spin off the division and target a listing by May 2024, which would have split Alibaba into six main business groups. Alibaba is Asia’s largest public cloud service provider, according to market intelligence firm IDC, Needham, Massachusetts. Alibaba Cloud competes with Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud. Alibaba has bet heavily on generative AI enjoining a fierce rivalry with OpenAI, Baidu, and Tencent.
R&D World’s R&D Index is a weekly stock market summary of the top international companies involved in R&D. The top 25 industrial R&D spenders in 2020 were selected based on the latest listings from Schonfeld & Associates’ June 2020 R&D Ratios & Budgets. These 25 companies include pharmaceutical (10 companies), automotive (6 companies), and ICT (9 companies) which invested a cumulative total of nearly 260 billion dollars in R&D in 2019, or approximately 10% of all the R&D spending in the world by government, industries, and academia combined, according to R&D World’s 2021 Global R&D Funding Forecast. The stock prices used in the R&D World Index are tabulated from NASDAQ, NYSE, and OTC common stock prices for the companies selected at the close of stock trading business on the Friday preceding the online publication of the R&D World Index.