The R&D World Index (RDWI) for the week ending December 3, 2021, closed at 5,409.37 for the 25 companies in the RDWI. The Index was down -1.28% (or -70.04 basis points) from the week ending November 26, 2021. The stock of 11 RDWI members gained value from 0.11% (Johnson & Johnson) to 3.21% (Apple). The stock of 14 RDWI members lost value from -0.13% (Alphabet/Google) to -16.04% (Alibaba).
Nissan Motor Co., Yokohama, Japan, announced last week that it plans to invest $17.6 billion over the next five years as part of its plan to add 20 new battery-powered vehicles to its product lineup. Nissan has considerable experience in electric vehicles (EVs) with its Leaf EV now being sold by them for more than a decade. The company said that nine of those 20 new EVs will be introduced by 2026 and will be 100% battery powered. The company expects 40% of its sales by 2030 will come from 100% battery or hybrid electric-internal combustion systems. The company also said it will bring the cost of these new EVs to less than 65% of the cost of its current Leaf EVs. The company is also investing $1 billion in the development of solid-state batteries which are expected to be lighter and safer when introduced by 2028.
Biopharm GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), Brentford, U.K., announced last week that a COVID-19 antibody treatment it has developed with Vir Biotechnology, San Francisco, is effective against the new Omicron COVID-19 variant. Their drug, sotrovimab, was found to be effective against certain individual mutations found in the Omicron variant. The companies still need to test the drug against the whole mutated spike protein found in the variant to confirm their preliminary results. Those results are expected before the end of 2021. Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Tarrytown, New York, has also developed an antibody therapy that was found in early studies to be less effective against the Omicron variant that the original virus.
GSK also announced last week that it had formed a five-year research collaboration with the University of Oxford, U.K., to establish the Oxford-GSK Institute of Molecular and Computational Medicine which is expected to use advanced technologies, such as functional genomics and machine learning to develop insights in human genetics. Their initial research will be focused on neurological diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.
China last week announced that it has approved the creation of the China Rare Earth Group by merging the rare-earth assets of China Minmetals Corp., Aluminum Corp. of China and Ganzhou Rare Earth Group. The new entity will be based in resource-rich Jiangxi province in southern China before the end of 2021. The new group is said to attempt to undercut Western efforts to dominate critical technologies. According to a recent White House report, China is said to control about 55% of the world’s rare-earth mining and 85% of their refining processes. Rare earths are defined as a group of 17 elements valued for their magnetic and conductive properties and used in the manufacture of EVs, cell phones and missile defense systems.
Consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton, McLean, Virginia, announced last week a major expansion of its 5G research capabilities with the launch of a new developmental lab in Annapolis Junction, Maryland. The lab’s on-site capabilities include a 5G Standalone (SA) carrier-grade network, an SA mobile core and Radio Access Network (RAN) hardware, along with support for edge computing multi-band testing. Booz Allen plans to combine the lab’s assets with its existing cloud, network and security offerings to provide a testbed for cyber resiliency, artificial intelligence, and machine learning applications development. Booz Allen stated that the lab was made possible by its participation in a five-year, $1.7 billion Department of Defense 5G to Next G directive.
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) last week sued to block chip supplier Nvidia Corp., Santa Clara, California, in its proposed takeover of semiconductor-device specialist, Arm Holdings, Cambridge, U.K. The FTC panel stated unanimously that the proposed $75 billion deal is anticompetitive in that it would give Nvidia unlawful control over computing technologies and designs that its rivals need to develop their own competing semiconductor devices.
The international robotic and artificial intelligence (AI) company ecoation announced last week that it had combined with the greenhouse owners and operators at JEM farms, Kingsville, Ontario, Canada, to build a new North American Horticultural Technology Center & Academy in Ruthven, Ontario. Equipped with the latest commercial growing technologies, the center will showcase advanced existing technologies in the market and work to develop future platforms that address automation, labor shortages, quality management and residue-free production.
Exxon Mobil, Irving, Texas, announced last week that it will maintain a conservative investment budget for the next five years, while the outlook for oil and gas resources is volatile and the COVID-19-based economic risks persist and numerous countries look to wean themselves from fossil-based fuels. Exxon’s R&D investments were expected to be about $1.2 billion in 2020 and had been mostly flat for the past ten years. While many of Exxon’s competitors have looked to investments in renewable energies, Exxon has mostly held to its fossil fuel strategies.
China and Malaysia last week held the inaugural meeting of their Malaysia-China High-Level Committee on Cooperation in the post-COVID-19 era. In the meeting, the countries agreed to collaborate in vaccine R&D and production. This collaboration is expected to support Malaysia’s plans to produce its own vaccines as outlined in Malaysia’s National Vaccine Development Roadmap recently announced by Malaysia’s prime minister. Malaysia is encouraging Chinese vaccine companies to set up production plants in Malaysia, including their R&D centers.
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 2019 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) who invested a cumulative total of nearly $260 billion in R&D in 2019, or approximately 10% of all the R&D spent 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.