The R&D World Index (RDWI) for the week ending February 17, 2023, closed at 2,443.99 for the 25 companies in the RDWI. The Index was down -0.88% (or -21.74 basis points) from the week ending February 10, 2023. Thirteen of the 25 RDWI members gained value during the past week from 0.02% (Alphabet/Google) to 7.43% (Cisco). Twelve of the 25 RDWI members lost value last week from -0.40% (Toyota) to -4.81% (Eli Lilly & Co.).
The medical journal the BMJ, London, published a study last week stating that pharmaceutical companies are charging too much for their drugs compared to what they spend on R&D. The study researchers questioned the claim that high drug prices are needed to sustain valuable innovation. The researchers analyzed publicly available financial reports from 1999 to 2018 at the 15 largest biopharmaceutical companies. According to their research, these companies spent more on sales, marketing, general, and administrative activities than on R&D every year during the study period.
The world’s largest indoor vertical farm was unveiled last week in Abu Dhabi. At 65,000 ft2, AeroFarms AgX is the largest vertical farm of its kind for R&D. The facility is supported by the Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO) as part of its target to further next-generation agriculture in arid and desert environments. The indoor farm will hire more than 60 engineers, horticulturists, and scientists for its high-tech labs. The labs will carry out organoleptic research and precision phenotyping, phytochemical analysis, and research on next-generation machine vision, machine learning, robotics, and automation. The farm also has strategic partners that include Cargill and the Foundation for Food & Agriculture and the Precision Indoor Plants Consortium for R&D collaboration.
The Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, California, and Qualcomm Technologies, San Diego, announced last week that they have agreed to explore military applications of 5G, artificial intelligence (AI), and other emerging technology under a cooperative R&D agreement (CRADA). The partnership will set up an innovation laboratory at the Postgraduate School campus as part of the limited-purpose CRADA. Qualcomm will offer students of the graduate school access to the company’s Robotics RB5 and RB6 development kits, Cloud AI 100 Inference, and Snapdragon 8 mobile processor for use in experiments.
The White House announced last week that Tesla Inc., Austin, Texas, will open part of its proprietary supercharger network to other kinds of vehicles for the first time. The move qualifies Tesla for a share of billions of federal funding on offer to build a national network of electric vehicle (EV) chargers. Tesla plans to open at least 3,500 new and existing 250-kW chargers to drivers of all kinds of EVs by the end of 2024. Fast chargers can repower cars in about 30 minutes, but those available to any kind of EV are in short supply across U.S. highways where their presence is considered crucial to boosting EV adoption.
RDW Index member Ford Motor, Dearborn, Michigan, attributed its production stop last week of its electric pickup trucks to a fire in a production vehicle stored on company property during a pre-delivery quality check. The fire spread to another nearby truck. The company said it believed it found the root cause of the problem, but production would be shut down for about a week.
The U.S. Department of Labor reported last week that inflation cooled slightly in January to 6.4% from 6.5% in December 2022. The inflation report is likely to keep Federal Reserve officials on track to raise interest rates at their next meeting at the end of March. While the last Fed rate increase in January was only raised 0.25% to 4.50% to 4.75%, the next rate increase in March may be raised 0.50% due to the continued high inflation data, according to analysts.
European Union lawmakers last week approved a law that will effectively ban the sale of new gasoline- and diesel-powered vehicles in the bloc from 2035. Canada, Norway, California, and the U.K. have also announced similar (or tighter) internal combustion sales deadlines.
Chemical maker Chemours Co., Wilmington, Delaware, announced last week that it would continue producing so-called forever chemicals, stating that the materials can be made safely and are critical for semiconductors and EVs. These materials include perfluoroalkyl and polyfluorakyl substances, commonly called PFAS, and are long-lasting, resistant to heat, corrosion, and moisture. They were initially called Teflon (eight years ago) when implemented by their research discoverer DuPont.
RDW Index member Johnson & Johnson, New Brunswick, New Jersey, announced last week that it is again preparing to defend thousands of lawsuits linking its talc-based products to cancer. A bankruptcy strategy employed by the company has kept the mass-injury litigation on hold for more than 16 months. The company is contingency planning and preparing to resume defenses against the talc litigation outside of bankruptcy court.
In a major corporate policy shift, RDW Index member Toyota, Toyota City, Japan, announced last week that the company wants to accelerate development of parts and manufacturing methods optimized for EVs. The company’s EV-first mindset is expected to drastically change how the company does business. The company’s top-of-the-line Lexus models will lead this charge with new electric Lexus models now schedules to debut by 2036.
A study published by the New England Journal of Medicine last week noted that women 65 and older with early-stage breast cancers would be better suited to hormone therapies than radiation therapies. The report stated that the outcome of patients following this new therapy regimen would not be altered from previous radiation-intensive therapies.
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
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