The R&D World Index (RDWI) for the week ending February 4, 2022, closed at 5,420.09 for the 25 companies in the RDWI. The Index was up 2.64% (or 139.41 basis points) from the week ending January 28, 2022. The stock of 13 RDWI members gained value from 0.12% (Bristol-Myers Squibb) to 7.46% (Alphabet/Google). The stock of 12 RDWI members lost value from -0.09% (Johnson & Johnson) to -21.42% (Facebook).
RDW Index members Alphabet/Google, Mountain View, California, and Ford Motor Co., Dearborn, Michigan, announced last week that they will be collaborating to transform the 18-story Michigan Central train depot into a research hub focused on electric and self-driving vehicles. The city of Detroit and the state of Michigan also agreed to provide infrastructure and other support for the Michigan Central Innovation District that will include the train depot and other nearby buildings. Renovations to the train depot could be completed by 2023. Ford plans to research, test and launch new mobility solutions in the building. The state will provide more than $126 million worth of programming and resources, including infrastructure. Google will open a lab on the 30-acre site to teach computer science to high school students, which will include certification ensuring people have the digital skills and coaching they need to succeed.
Ford estimates that the depot research hub will involve a total investment of close to $1 billion.
The Institut Polytechnique de Paris, CNRS (French National Center for Scientific Research, Paris) and Thales, Paris, France, announced last week that they have signed a partnership agreement relating to the creation of a joint laboratory, HERACLES, to conduct R&D in the field of intense lasers. The new joint R&D unit will develop state-of-the-art laser technologies with applications in industrial, medical and scientific fields. The three partners have worked together in the past and HERACLES will focus on the development of very high peak power lasers, medium power lasers with high repetition frequencies, and very high average power lasers. Applications include the development of lasers for a new class of accelerators, very high-resolution medical imaging and non-destructive testing of thick-welded structural materials.
RDW Index member General Motors, Detroit, announced last week that it will accelerate its timetable for some future electric vehicle (EV) launches and establish a third factory to build EV trucks. Mary Barra, GE CEO, has targeted production of 400,000 EVs in 2022 and 2023, up from just 25,000 in 2021. The third EV plant would join an already online one in suburban Detroit and a second nearby plant being planned. GM suspended its dividend in 2020 and will continue to use those funds to support its EV development.
The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) announced last week that it is soliciting input from interested stakeholders as it plans to revise a strategic plan for prioritizing R&D efforts related to artificial intelligence (AI). Potential stakeholders could suggest changes to the revised plan’s strategic aims and recommend AI R&D focus areas for developing platforms to address equity, health care, climate changes and other societal issues. OSTP said it would welcome insights on strategic directions regarding international cooperation on AI research.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) last week gave full approval to Moderna’s, Cambridge, Massachusetts, COVID-19 vaccine, now branded as Spikevax, for use in adults, 18 and older. The FDA had previously granted emergency use authorization to Moderna’s vaccine in December 2020. Moderna completed its application for full authorization in August 2021, following the results of a 30,000-person clinical trial. Those results included a 93% effectiveness of the vaccine at preventing symptomatic COVID-19 disease. That efficacy remained durable six months after the second dose.
Twenty years ago, RDW Index member Intel, Santa Clara, California, was referred to as “chipzilla” due to its production and performance dominance in the semiconductor marketplace. That dominance has been supplanted by the likes of Samsung and TSMC (Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co.), but the nametag remains somewhat elusive for Intel. Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger recently commented that he wants Intel to regain that “chipzilla” dominance and is investing more than 20% of its revenues into R&D and building massive production capabilities on a global scale and even in building a brand-new mega production facility near Columbus, Ohio. Gelsinger said that Intel will be leaders in semiconductor manufacturing, packaging and in the markets in which they participate and that requires investing in R&D. Their latest focus is on gate-all-around (GAA) transistors, which improve transistor density and performance.
RDW Index member IBM, Armonk, New York, reported higher earnings and revenue for 4Q 2021 which has led analysts to comment that the company’s new focus on data and AI tools is working and leading to improved financials. The IBM report revealed a 16% increase in hybrid cloud revenue to $6.2 billion and an 8% increase in software revenue to $7.3 billion. About 70% of IBM’s revenue can now be attributed to software and services, which are the fastest growth areas of the overall IT market, according to International Data Corp. (IDC).
The European Union’s (EU’s) executive arm, the European Commission (EC) last week published a proposal to label certain nuclear energy and natural gas investments as sustainable over the coming years. Member countries and the European Parliament have up to six months to review the proposal with a current feeling that it will be approved, albeit with some revisions, especially around storing nuclear waste.
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 dollars 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.