The R&D World Index (RDWI) for the week ending February 18, 2022, closed at 5,075.11 for the 25 companies in the RDWI. The Index was down -2.18% (or 113.00 basis points) from the week ending February 11, 2022. The stock of nine RDWI members gained value from 0.96% (Novartis) to 6.14% (Cisco). The stock of 16 RDWI members lost value from -0.35% (Merck & Co.) to -6.50% (Oracle).
With RDW Index member Pfizer, BioNTech, Mainz, Germany, codeveloped a COVID-19 vaccine which was authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) — and other countries — for emergency use in December 2020. Last week BioNTech unveiled mobile vaccine production units that it aims to deploy across Africa and other regions that have limited access to supplies. The modular factories, termed BioNTainers, encased in shipping containers, will produce messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines and operate on a not-for-profit basis in developing countries. Each unit, consisting of 12 containers, can produce about 50 million vaccine doses/year. The modules can be transported by air, sea, road or rail and will be able to produce future mRNA vaccines that are developed by BioNTech. This includes vaccines for malaria and tuberculosis, and also cancer treatments which are currently in clinical trials. BioNTech did not release any cost figures for these products. Pfizer is not involved in the mobile vaccine units, it said it is boosting its traditional manufacturing capabilities and teaming with other global pharma manufacturers. The first BioNTainers will be shipped in the second half of 2022 to countries in Africa. This program includes technology transfer which will eventually see the production managed solely by local authorities.
Chemical and specialty-materials company Celanese Corp., Irving, Texas, last week reached a deal to purchase most of DuPont de Nemours’s, Wilmington, Delaware, mobility and materials unit for $11 billion. The deal includes customer and supplier contracts and a global production network of 29 facilities and an intellectual property portfolio. Celanese had R&D investments of 55 million in 2020, while DuPont invested $4.1 billion. DuPont stated that the deal represents an enterprise value multiple of 14 times the business’ 2021 earnings before interest taxes, depreciation and amortization. The deal is expected to close by the end of 2022.
Keysight Technologies, Santa Rosa, California, last week announced that the company has signed an agreement with Samsung Research, Seoul, South Korea to advance R&D of 6G technologies. (Samsung Research has 14 global R&D centers and 7 global artificial intelligence (AI) centers. 6G, which is expected to be fully developed by 2030, will involve AI, sensing, digital twins, time-sensitive networking (TSN) and holographic communications. The two companies will work together to develop test and verification for 6G systems. Keysight possesses foundational technology and key building blocks essential to helping 6G become a reality. Keysights integrated software and hardware test tools allow Samsung to accurately and holistically explore the margins of designs used to power future 6G use cases. Samsung invested about $19 billion in R&D in 2020, while Keysight invested about $770 million.
Underwriters Laboratories (UL), Northbrook, Illinois, and Northwestern University (NU), Evanston, Illinois, last week announced the creation of a research hub that seeks to better incorporate safety and equity into the fast-growing technology of artificial intelligence (AI). The Digital Intelligence Safety Research Institute (DISRI) at UL will support the research collaboration committing $7 million to the research hub over the next three years as well as expertise and resources. NU will host and the two institutions will jointly lead the research and operations of the new hub, the Center for Advancing Safety of Machine Intelligence (CASMI). The partnership will coordinate a wide-ranging research network focused on maximizing machine learning’s benefits while recognizing negative effects.
Embraer, Sao Jose dos Campos, Brazil, Rolls-Royce Holdings, London, and Wideroe, Bodo, Norway, last week announced they’ve formed a one-year partnership to evaluate different aircraft propulsion technologies including all-electric hydrogen fuel cell, and hydrogen-fueled gas turbines for the study of zero-emission regional aircraft concepts. The study of these technologies will allow national governments to continue to support passenger mobility while reusing most of the existing infrastructure in a more sustainable way. The partners state that renewable energy can be a major enabler of a new era of regional aviation. The study will evaluate aircraft design, market demand, operations and propulsion solutions.
RDW Index member Intel, Santa Clara, California, announced last week that it is close to finalizing a deal to buy Tower Semiconductor, Migdal HaEmek, Israel, for nearly $6 billion. Tower manufactures semiconductors and circuits used in automotive applications, consumer products, medical devices and industrial equipment. Tower has manufacturing facilities in Israel, California, Texas and Japan and is similar to the much larger Global Foundries, Santa Clara, which Intel also considered purchasing until they decided to pursue an IPO.
Approved COVID-19 vaccine developer Moderna, Cambridge, Massachusetts, was reported last week to be finalizing an agreement with the United Kingdom (U.K.) to build out a new R&D and manufacturing facility in the U.K.’s Golden Triangle area bounded by London, Cambridge and Oxford. One of the U.K.’s big attractions for companies like Moderna is access to this area’s massive patient database, a key attractor for drug developers and one of the world’s leading scientific communities.
Lockheed Martin (LM), Bethesda, Maryland, last week announced that it has scrapped plans to buy Aerojet Rocketdyne Holdings, El Segundo, California, following the reveal of federal antitrust regulator’s lawsuit to block the proposed $4.4 billion deal. LM had hoped to add Aerojet expertise in building its own missile and space systems. LM is the largest global defense contractor by sales and has an annual R&D investment of more than $1.6 billion. Aerojet’s 2020 R&D investment was about $40 million. Aerojet is the only large, independent U.S. producer of engines for rockets and missiles. In its lawsuit, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) argued that the proposed purchase would harm rival defense contractors and lead to unacceptable consolidation.
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.