The R&D World Index (RDWI) for the week ending July 30, 2021 closed at 5,388.29 for the 25 companies in the R&D World Index. The Index was up 0.08% (or 4.41 basis points) from the week ending July 23, 2021. The stock of 12 R&D World Index members gained value from 0.24% (Johnson & Johnson) to 3.46% (General Motors). The stock of 13 R&D World Index members lost value from -0.01% (Toyota) to -5.49% (Alibaba).
The Electric Highway Coalition, which includes the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). Duke Energy and American Electric Power, plans to more than double its membership, adding Consolidated Edison of New York, Exelon and Avangrid this week as it seeks to build an electric vehicle (EV) charging network. The proposed network will encompass most of the South, Midwest and East Coast. Another coalition in the Midwest and Plains states has grown from six to 10 members since late 2020. The electric charging alliances are planning to build the thousands of charging stations for EVs needed to connect U.S. cities. Without these charging stations, a large number of consumers could opt out of buying EVs. Helping this plan, Tesla’s network of Tesla-only charging stations is also said to open its system to non-Tesla EVs by the end of 2021. Each EV charging stall costs more than $100,000 to create, so a single charging station could be an expensive undertaking for small entrepreneurs.
Britishvolt, the largest UK investor in battery technologies, announced last week that it has been granted government planning permission from Innovate UK to build a 30 GWh electric battery gigafactory in Northumberland UK (on the border with Scotland). UK private battery manufacturer Envision AESC also submitted plans last week for the enlarged battery plant it wants to build next to its current plant in Sunderland UK. (on the east coast of the UK). Britishvolt is involved in the Silicon Anode Battery for Rapid Electrification (SABRE) research project in which it hopes to develop an advanced lithium-ion cell design which incorporates a novel silicon anode that could increase the range of EVs.
The U.S. economy grew rapidly (6.5%) in 2Q 2021, exceeding its pre-pandemic 2019 size, according to a report last week from the U.S. Department of Commerce. This growth was fueled by trillions of dollars in fiscal stimulus funding and consumer spending that jumped to an 11.8% annual rate. U.S. payrolls continued to grow during the quarter and the labor market increased by an average of 600,000 new jobs/month. Initial jobless claims have also continued to decline. Economists warned, however, that the Delta variant of the COVID-19 could derail this economic recovery. The current supply bottlenecks are expected to ease in time for the holiday shopping season, according to economists. Inflation is expected to ease by the end of 2021 to a 4.1% annual rate and 2.5% in 2022.
Osaka, Japan-based pharmaceutical company Shionogi & Co. announced last week that it has started human clinical trials of its first once-a-day pill for COVID-19 patients. RDW Index members Pfizer and Merck & Co. have also started late-stage clinical trials of pills that treat the COVID-19 virus. Pfizer has stated that its twice-daily pill could be ready for market by the end of 2021. All three companies are targeting people who have avoided being vaccinated with current COVID-19 vaccines. The Pfizer and Shionogi pills block COVID-19 infections with a protease inhibiting enzyme which the virus needs to copy itself inside human cells.
Pfizer’s R&D chief last week stated that they continue to believe it is likely that a third booster dose of their COVID-19 vaccine may be needed within six to 12 months after full initial vaccination. Pfizer is expecting to submit their booster shot for emergency use authorization as early as August 2021. The company is starting immunogenicity and safety studies in August to evaluate an updated version of their vaccine which is designed to target the virus’s delta variant. As noted above, Pfizer expects to submit an emergency use authorization for an oral (pill) antiviral by the end of 2021.
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) awarded by last week $127 million to small businesses working on clean energy technology. This represents 110 projects in 26 states. The awards will be administered by the DOE’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs. Approved projects are funded by grants and must have the potential for commercialization and meet specific DOE requirements. Specific technologies in these grants include EV batteries, ocean pollution abatement, integrated solar panels, measurement systems for semiconductor substrates, CO2 capture and storage and environmental monitoring and sensing technologies.
European-based energy company Eni and chemical company BASF jointly announced last week that they have signed a strategic agreement on a joint R&D initiative to reduce the CO@ footprint of the transportation sector. The agreement plans to develop a new technology to produce advanced bio-propanol from glycerin, a side stream of industrial biodiesel production. Glycerin to advanced biopropanol is part of Eni’s R&D commitment toward decarbonization of its industrial energy processes. About 5 million tons of glycerin are produced on an annual basis.
While the semiconductor chip shortage has affected most automakers, Tesla has been unaffected due to previous planning programs. The company, however, stated last week that their Cybertruck production, expected to start in late 2021, may be delayed into 2022 due to chip shortages. Apple has also recently stated that its iPhone smartphone production could now be slowed this year due to the continuing semiconductor shortages. Apple, however, continues to forecast strong market growth for its products in 2021 and 2022.
BioNTech, the codeveloper with Pfizer of the COVID-19 vaccine released to the U.S. in late-2020, announced last week that they will invest their COVID-19 profits into developing vaccines for malaria and tuberculosis (TB) in Africa. The company plans to build a factory in Africa and develop a manufacturing network with local partners to transfer its mRNA technology to a continent that has suffered from a lack of access to vaccines and other lifesaving treatments. Malaria and TB, together, kill about 800,000 Africans annually. Developing a vaccine for these pathogens (bacterial and parasitic) could be more challenging than that for the coronavirus, according to researchers who have worked in the area for decades.
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.