The R&D World Index (RDWI) for the week ending June 4, 2021 closed at 4,992.57 for the 25 companies in the R&D World Index. The Index was up 1.64% (or 80.72 basis points) from the week ending May 28, 2021. The stock of 20 R&D World Index members gained value from 0.05% (AstraZeneca) to 9.91% (Ford Motor Co.). The stock of five R&D World Index members lost value from -0.74% (AbbVie) to -2.35% (Merck & Co.).
Stanford University last week announced that it has established the Stanford Center at the Incheon Global Campus, a research center in the “smart city” of Songdo, a 1,500-acre business district within the South Korean city of Incheon. The center will bring together researchers from Stanford’s seven schools with collaborators from South Korean industry, government and universities. Initial research at the center will focus on smart, sustainable cities and urban communities. South Korean students have trained at Stanford for more than 30 years with alumni now serving as leaders in South Korean universities, government and private enterprise. The center is funded through a five-year, $12.5 million commitment from the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.
RDW Index member IBM last week announced a five-year, $300 million artificial intelligence (AI) and quantum computing collaboration with the United Kingdom (UK) government. The program will hire 60 researchers, along with interns and students who will work under the auspices of IBM Research and the UK’s Science and Technology Facilities Council at the Hartree Centre in Daresbury, Cheshire. The newly formed Hartree National Centre for Digital Innovation will apply AI, high-performance computing, quantum computing and cloud technologies to advance research in materials development and environmental sustainability. This is IBM’s first Discovery Accelerator research center in Europe. We announced last week that IBM was forming a new Accelerator research center at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign which will focus on similar programs and technologies.
Chicago-based United Airlines last week announced that it plans to fly passengers on up to 15 new supersonic jetliners by 2029. The craft is being developed by Boom Technologies, Denver, which plans to fly a scaled down version within the next year. The full-size version will carry 88 passengers at Mach 1.7. Japan Airlines has invested $10 million in Boom and plans to purchase 20 planes once they meet safety, operational and sustainability standards and regulations. United Airlines earlier this year made a $20 million investment in Archer Aviation, Palo Alto, Calif., which is developing flying electric taxis.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) last week authorized a new COVID-19 antibody drug, REGEN-COV, made by Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Tarrytown, N.Y. The injectable drug has been available to treat recently diagnosed COVID-19 patients since November 2020 under an emergency use authorization. In trials, the drug reduced the risk of hospitalization or death by 70% in patients with mild to moderate symptoms. The new authorization allows a simpler formulation and injection instead of IV infusion.
An experiment in Serrana, Brazil, to vaccinate the entire population of 45,000 with the Chinese Corona-Vac vaccine against the COVID-19 virus has reduced deaths by 95% which has verified the vaccine’s efficacy which is being rolled out across much of the developing world. The number of symptomatic cases fell 80% from February to mid-May and hospitalizations dropped 86%. More than 95% of the town’s population agreed to be vaccinated. The vaccine was developed by China’s Sinovac Biotech company. The COVID-19 virus has resulted in more than 460,000 deaths across Brazil.
The U.S.’s Biden Administration announced last week that it would work through the international COVAX effort to share the bulk of the 80 million vaccine doses from AstraZeneca PLC, it plans to send to other countries by the end of June, 2021. About 75% of these doses will be targeted to countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, South and Southeast Asia and Africa. The remaining 25% of the doses will go to countries experiencing surges in cases, neighbors and those requesting help from the U.S. The U.S. is also working to build out vaccine capacity and plans to send more surplus doses overseas in the future.
According to financial analysts at Tradeweb last week, the consumer-price index (CPI) is expected to rise by an annual average in the U.S. of 2.47% over the next decade. This is higher than the 2.01% forecast at the end of 2020, but lower than its most recent high of 2.57% in mid-May. The analysts believe that the current rise in the CPI seen over the past several months may now have peaked. Federal Reserve officials continue to hold to their policy of letting the inflation rate continue at above their target rate of 2% for some period of time (before making policy adjustments) to make up for the extended period it has spent below that threshold. Current pricing and inflation data are considered somewhat dubious in that they are being compared to severely depressed prices at the same time in 2020 during the strongest pandemic events. These base effects will persist for several months, but those effects will eventually fade according to the analysts.
A new venture fund has been launched for technology-based entrepreneurs to invest in startups commercializing metamaterials — those materials that improve the performance and reduce the size and weight of devices such as lenses and sensors. San Francisco, Calif.-based MetaVC Partners is raising $100 million for its first such fund. Founder and former CTO of RDW Index member Microsoft Bill Gates and Nathan Myhrvold, respectively, are two of the early investors in this fund according to a report in the Wall Street Journal. MetaVC expect to make about a dozen investments over the next 18 months and already has backed two startups — Neuropos and Mangata Networks.
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.