The R&D World Index (RDWI) for the week ending May 21, 2021 closed at 4,827.88 for the 25 companies in the R&D World Index. The Index was up 0.74% (or 35.28 basis points) from the week ending May 14, 2021. The stock of 19 R&D World Index members gained value from 0.04% (IBM) to 12.58% (Ford Motor Co.). The stock of six R&D World Index members lost value from -0.17% (Pfizer) to -1.58% (Apple Computer).
RDW Index member Alphabet/Google announced last week that the company plans to spend several billion dollars in R&D to build a commercial-grade 1-million-qubit quantum computer by 2029. The company has opened a new site to host quantum computers and to serve as the R&D hub for future developments. Google has been working on quantum computing for several years, with its Bristlecone and other quantum chips. In 2019, Google claimed its quantum chips were able to outperform classical computers on specific workloads. The fragility of current quantum chips would be fixed by “error-corrected logical qubits” developed by Google. The new Santa Barbara (California) County Google site will be called their Quantum AI Campus. It will include a data center, research labs and a chip fabrication site and employ several hundred researchers over the next few years in several buildings. Other companies working to commercialize quantum computing technologies include IBM, D-Wave Systems, and Honeywell International. Researchers at IBM have stated that 2023 will be an inflection point in that the errors of quantum computers will continue to decrease exponentially through software and not just hardware.
The government of Japan announced last week that it will invest $3.4 billion to accelerate R&D over the next ten years to promote the use of hydrogen as an alternative “green” fuel. The government wants to boost the country’s demand for hydrogen from the current annual 2 million tons to 3 million tons by 2030 and 20 million tons by 2050. Japan’s New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) is now accepting applications for 1) the creation of a large-scale supply chain and transportation of (liquified) hydrogen and 2) the development of a large-scale cost-efficient hydrogen production system by water electrolysis using energy from renewable sources. Other projects expected from Japan’s $18 billion government green innovation fund include R&D projects for lowering the cost of offshore wind farms and building a supply chain of fuel ammonia.
RDW Index member Ford Motor Company last week announced that it has created a joint venture with South Korea’s SK Innovation Co. to develop and build electric batteries in the U.S. The joint venture, BlueOvalSK, aims to create batteries capable of producing 60 GWh annually by 2025. Two new battery plants located in North America are likely to be built. SK Innovation already has an agreement with Ford to supply batteries for some vehicles, including Ford’s new 100% F-150 truck which was introduced last Thursday and is expected to be available in early 2022. GM is already building an EV battery plant in Ohio through a joint venture with South Korea’s LG Chem, which is set to open in 2022. Earlier this year, GM said it would build a second battery plant in Tennessee costing up to $2.3 billion.
Vaccine researchers are now working to develop a booster shot which will be available in late-2021. The European Union (EU) last week signed a contract with Pfizer/BioNTech SE for another 1.8 billion doses of their COVID-19 vaccine for delivery through 2023. These shots are earmarked for booster shots. The UK has already ordered 60 million more doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine in preparation for a fall and winter booster program. Scientists are currently starting clinical trials to investigate the effect of a third shot.
Italy’s government last week announced that it will introduce 20% tax breaks for companies conducting R&D for innovative drugs, including COVID-19 vaccines, provided they grant non-exclusive licenses. The tax credit will be effective for costs incurred from June 1, 2021 to December 31, 2030, on condition they grant licenses to third parties in the European Economic Area on non-discriminatory market terms.
The top biopharmaceutical companies spent almost $12 billion on R&D in 1Q 2021 compared to $9.4 billion invested in 1Q 2020, according to an analysis by BioWorld magazine. The 24% increase was driven by companies involved in developing COVID-19 vaccines and therapeutics. The sector appears to be on target for creating another R&D investment record year in 2021.
Singapore-based Prestige BioPharma has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Busan City, South Korea, to build a new R&D center. The $152 million center will cover an area of 45,000 square meters and include the hiring of 209 Ph.D. and highly qualified R&D personnel over the next five years. About half of the R&D resources will be sourced from local South Korean universities and companies.
Chrysler-owner Stellantis and iPhone assembler Foxconn last week announced a joint venture to develop in-vehicle software and services. The joint venture, Mobile Drive, follows a trend by other automakers to form joint ventures with companies having expertise in electronics and software which the automakers are lacking, especially for the upcoming transition to electrification and autonomous vehicles. Mobile Drive also wants to sell its services to other automakers.
The COVID-19 pandemic is taking an increasing toll on India’s health care services, with other countries providing support and vaccines to prevent the virus’s spread. A rare and often deadly condition, mucormucosis or black fungus, has now appeared in thousands of Indian COVID-19 patients and is threatening to create an even-more severe health crisis. India is short on supplies of amphotericin drugs to treat the black fungus (which coincidentally is manufactured in India) and is attempting to acquire 350,000 vials of the drug.
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.