The R&D World Index (RDWI) for the week ending March 26, 2021 closed at 4,450.47 for the 25 companies in the R&D World Index. The Index was up 0.02% (or 0.69 basis points) from the week ending March 19, 2021. The stock of 13 R&D World Index members gained value from 0.55% (Eli Lilly & Co.) to 7.33% (Cisco). The stock of 12 R&D World Index members lost value from -0.11% (Alphabet/Google) to -5.23% (Alibaba).
RDWI-member Pfizer announced last week that it will expand its vaccine business based on its experience in developing its COVID-19 technologies, in which it collaborated with Germany’s BioNTech SE. Pfizer will develop new vaccines using messenger-RNA (mRNA) to target other viruses and pathogens on its own (without collaborating with BioNTech SE). Pfizer’s CEO Albert Bourla stated that they’re positioned to take this technology to the next step because of their size and expertise. Pfizer plans to increase their R&D in the technology, specifically adding at least 50 new researchers who will focus their work on mRNA and harness the mRNA manufacturing network assembled over the past year for their COVID-19 vaccine production. Pfizer expects $15 billion in sales from its COVID-19 vaccine in 2021. The company also produces a pneumococcal (pneumonia) vaccine, Prevnar 13, with $6 billion in 2020 sales, with a next generation medicine currently under review by regulators. Global vaccine sales are forecast to exceed $64 billion by 2026, according to market research firm Evaluate. Pfizer also announced last week that it has started testing its COVID-19 vaccine on children six months to 11 years of age and expects results by the end of 2021.
RDWI-member Intel announced last week that its IDM 2.0 strategy will start with a $20 billion investment in two new semiconductor fabrication plants to be constructed at its existing Ocotillo site in Chandler, Ariz., south of Phoenix. The new fabs will add 3,000 employees to the current 12,000 at the site’s four existing fabs. Arizona and the Biden administration provided “incentives” for the new Intel project, including federal grants created by the CHIPS for America Act, a new bill focused on supporting U.S.-based semiconductor manufacturing and research. U.S. Senator Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona cosponsored the bill. Construction on the new Intel fabs will begin immediately with production scheduled to start by 2024. Intel also stated last week that it plans to expand its chip-making facilities in Europe. The Intel announcement follows an announcement in January 2021 by Taiwan-based Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) of its plans to build six fabs in north Phoenix estimated to cost $37 billion. The TSMC fabs are also expected to begin production by 2024. Both the Intel and TSMC 2021 capital investment announcements are records for each company. Analysts and the chip companies themselves estimate the current 5% of GDP investments on technology will double to 10% in the next 10 years.
The state-owned China Daily reported last week that the government plans to push 6G R&D between now and 2025 as part of the countries broad digital China strategy. The government wants to accelerate R&D of 6G telecommunications technologies in collaboration with industry experts. China would build out a large-scale 5G network and strengthen its focus on IPv6 (Internet Protocol version 6) which is an evolutionary step from the current IPv4. Most telecom industry stakeholders believe that 6G will not make its debut until 2030 or later. The U.S. created the Next G Alliance in November 2020 to help establish and develop 6G technologies. China also launched the first 6G experimental satellite in November 2020. Nokia and Ericsson are involved in European 6G research efforts in its project Hexa-X.
Alpharetta, Ga., -based Chemence biotechnology company announced last week the opening of its new R&D facility in Alpharetta for the development of adhesives in the medical, electronics and OEM industries. The 30,000-ft2 facility consists of analytical labs, bulk materials testing, environmental conditioning and an applications area for formulating, dispensing and curing its new adhesives.
German pharmaceutical company Boehringer Ingelheim, with U.S. headquarters in Ridgefield, Connecticut, announced last week that it had increased its R&D investments by 7% in 2020 to $4.2 billion, the highest annual R&D spending in its 136-year history. The company also recently announced the start of a Phase 2 clinical collaboration with Cologne University Hospital, Germany, the University of Marburg and the German Center for Infection Research for a COVID neutralizing antibody administered via inhalation to block the virus at the site of infection.
South Korea’s LG Energy Solution announced last week that it will invest more than $4.5 billion in U.S. electric vehicle (EV) battery production by 2025. LG, which has a joint venture with RDWI-member General Motors, said the investment will help create 10,000 jobs in the U.S., including subcontractors. GM and LG are currently building a $2.3 billion battery factory in Lordstown, Ohio (the site of a previously closed GM assembly plant), which will employ about 1,000 people when completed in 2022.
An editorial in the March 22 issue of the Wall Street Journal discussed the future of U.S. higher education. In the article, the author states that the combination of the pandemic, high tuition rates, distance learning technologies and the Internet will force a reduction in the 5,300 U.S. colleges and universities to a much smaller number with the remaining campuses becoming shared satellite facilities for the base academia. Tuition is also expected to see a dramatic decline, thus ending the current student loan crisis. How all of this relates to academic-based R&D is not addressed, but if it occurs even in a small way, it will effect dramatic changes in that area as well.
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.