The R&D World Index (RDWI) for the week ending September 29, 2023, closed at 2,922.71 for the 25 companies in the RDWI. The Index was down -1.86% (or -55.30 basis points). Six of the 25 RDWI members gained value last week from 0.35% (Cisco) to 4.01% (Intel). Nineteen of the 25 RDWI members lost value last week from -0.16% (Astra Zeneca PLC) to -5.13% (Volkswagen AG).
Dell Technologies, Round Rock, Texas, announced last week that it is looking to further invest in its R&D center in Bengakuru, Kamataka, India. The company has 25 manufacturing facilities globally, with 14 of these facilities dedicated to R&D. Dell is looking to overcome India’s import restrictions on its special economic zone (SEZ) operations.
Qualcomm, San Diego, announced last week that it is not shutting down its R&D facility in Shanghai, China, despite admitting to plans for downsizing due to economic uncertainties and wavering demand. The Shanghai facility opened in 2010 and has about 400 employees. Qualcomm also has another R&D facility in Beijing, China. The company admitted to some downsizing measures in 4Q but there will not be a widespread reduction of the workforce. The company warned in August of a potential decline in smartphone sales and possible job cuts.
The U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI), Washington, D.C., announced last week that the U.S. plans to schedule three oil and gas lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico over the next five years. This reverses President Biden’s campaign promise to stop all new offshore drilling under his administration. The DOI stated that the Inflation Reduction Act, passed in 2022, mandated that millions of acres of oil and gas leases need to be offered in exchange for the expansion of offshore wind projects. The new leases will be the fewest lease sales in U.S. history and will allow the administration to support the growing offshore wind industry. High inflation and gas prices sparked by the war in Ukraine have pressured the administration to roll back earlier promises.
Last week, Amazon, Seattle announced that it agreed to invest up to $4 billion in artificial intelligence (AI) startup company Anthropic PBC, San Francisco. As part of the deal, Anthropic would be using its custom chips to build and deploy its AI software. Amazon also agreed to incorporate Anthropic’s technology into products across its business. Anthropic has agreed to spend a certain amount of the capital on Amazon’s cloud infrastructure business, Amazon Web Services (AWS) — the largest cloud service in the world. Anthropic, founded in 2021, offers an AI assistant called Claude, that competes with ChatGPT. The founders used to work at OpenAI, which was funded by Microsoft. The founders say its technology is safer and more reliable than its competitors’ products.
According to a report last week in the Wall Street Journal, economics is severely affecting the development of new antibiotic drugs. Six startup biotechs have won U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for new antibiotics since 2017. All six have filed for bankruptcy, been acquired, or are shutting down. About 80% of the researchers who worked at these six companies have abandoned antibiotic development, according to CARB-X, a U.S. government-funded group promoting research in this field. One of the problems is that these drugs are very expensive to develop and require up to 12 years to develop. Once developed, the market is very lean — doctors and consumers have become very accustomed to low-cost antibiotics and, despite government support, the biotechs cannot obtain much payback for their development efforts. As a result, most large pharmaceutical companies are no longer developing antibiotic drugs.
RDW Index member Meta Platforms (formerly Facebook), Menlo Park, California, announced last week that it is planning to release AI-based chatbots very soon with distinct personalities across its social media apps to attract young users. The generative AI bots are currently being tested internally by Meta employees. The bots are meant to be used to drive engagement with users, although some bots might have productivity-related skills such as the ability to help with software coding or other tasks.
The Federal Railway Administration (FRA), Washington, D.C., announced last week that it has approved 70 projects (of more than 230 applications) for repairs and upgrades of U.S. rail bridges and tracks. The $1.4 billion in grants is expected to benefit rail commuters and businesses as early as 2024. The grant program is part of a $1 trillion infrastructure bill signed in 2021. While most rail infrastructures are privately owned and operated, federal funding is needed due to prior underinvestment in rail infrastructure.
3M, St. Paul, Minnesota, is facing a government investigation in Belgium over water emissions from a company plant that contained higher-than-allowed levels of forever chemicals, or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). The company has said that it will stop making and using them by 2025. The Belgium government said it found in a concentration ten times higher than the legal limit. The company reported this data to the government and voluntarily agreed to shut down its PFAS manufacturing.
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