The R&D World Index (RDWI) for the week ending June 25, 2021 closed at 5,107.19 for the 25 companies in the R&D World Index. The Index was up 2.24% (or 111.80 basis points) from the week ending June 18, 2021. The stock of 21 R&D World Index members gained value from 0.09% (Sanofi SA) to 7.63% (Alibaba). The stock of four R&D World Index members lost value from -0.12% (AbbVie) to -0.56% (Novartis).
UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) released its once every five-years Science Report (USR) last week, the seventh in its series. The report references the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) targets set for 2030 which were set up in September 2015 by the UN’s General Assembly. Many of the UN’s members are aligning their national policies with the SDGs. The latest USR observes that many governments need to increase their commitment towards R&D to aid in this transition. More than 80% of the UN members still invest less than 1% of their GDP in R&D, according to the USR. R&D investments continue to be a challenge for many of the developing and underdeveloped countries. The least developed countries contribute to only 0.11% of the global R&D share. The symbiotic relationship between development and scientific research presents multiple challenges for underdeveloped countries as it affects their progress in reaching the SDG targets. The full 739-page USR 2021 – The Race Against Time for Smarter Development can be obtained at en.unesco.org/USR-contents.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS’s) Science and Technology Directorate last week announced it is seeking white papers from industry and academia for R&D into 10 new first responder technology funding opportunities. These include such specific topics as personnel protective equipment, non-lethal options for crowd control, rapidly deployable physical barriers, less-lethal chemical irritants and multi-spectrum laser technologies and safety equipment.
RDW Index member Eli Lilly & Co. last week indicated that it received U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) accelerated approval for its experimental Alzheimer’s drug, donanemab. Analysts expect the drug to receive full market approval by mid-2022. This follows earlier 2021 accelerated FDA approval for Biogen’s Aduhelm Alzheimer’s therapy, which has received critical reviews from scientists.
Irvington, N.Y.-based indoor farming company BrightFarms announced last week that it is investing part of its $100 million Series E funding round in a new BrightLabs R&D hub at its Wilmington, Ohio, greenhouse. Along with its other greenhouses in Illinois, Virginia, Pennsylvania and N.C., BrightFarms produces 9 million pounds of produce annually and plans to be in more than 3,500 stores by the end of 2021. BrightLabs represents a ten-fold increase in the company’s research capabilities.
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) last week announced more than $61 million in funding awards for 99 advanced nuclear energy technology projects in 30 states and a U.S. territory. The projects, $58 million of which will go to U.S. academia, will focus on nuclear energy research, cross-discipline technology development and nuclear reactor infrastructure to bolster the resiliency and use of nuclear energy. The awards specifically will go toward development of nuclear waste storage, and development of advanced materials, manufacturing and digital instrumentation to support advanced nuclear reactors.
Singapore-based Circulate Capital announced last week the close of new venture capital fund, Circulate Capital Disrupt, a companion strategy to its $106 million Circulate Capital Ocean Fund launched in 2019. The Ocean Fund targets innovations in materials and deep technology solutions to combat plastic waste and advanced the circular economy. Circulate Capital invests in innovative materials, delivery models, advanced recycling and artificial intelligence supported deep technologies.
Amazon.com last week announced that it has made commitments to buy 1.5 GW of production capacity from 14 new solar and wind plants around the world as part of its push to purchase enough renewable energy to cover all of the company’s activities by 2025. Amazon.com, Alphabet/Google, Facebook and Microsoft account for 30% or nearly 26 GW of the cumulative total from global companies, according to BloombergNEF. With these new deals Amazon is the top all-time corporate purchaser of clean energy in the U.S., according to the Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance.
COVID-19 vaccine supplier Moderna stated last week that it is adding two new production lines at the rebuilt former Polaroid plant in Massachusetts, as part of its push to prepare for making booster shots for the virus. The company expects the first new production line to be operating by Fall, 2021 and the second to be online by early 2022. These additions will increase overall Moderna production capacity by 50%. Moderna also stated that its manufacturing partners are expanding production capacity outside of the U.S. with a goal to triple the annual global COVID-19 vaccine output to about 3 billion doses in 2022. Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine sales are expected to top $17.1 billion in 2021.
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell in congressional testimony last week said it is highly unlikely that inflation will rise to levels last seen in the 1970s. While stating that price increases have been larger than the Fed expected and may prove persistent, but the shortages in computer chips and workers affecting these increases will fade over time, bringing inflation closer to the Fed’s 2% long-run target. Fourth-quarter 2021 inflation is forecast to be 3.4% above that of 4Q 2020. Powell reiterated that the Fed will tighten policy if necessary to keep U.S. inflation under control.
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.