The R&D World Index (RDWI) for the week ending January 26, 2024, closed at 3,348.96 for the 25 companies in the RDWI. The Index was up 1.56% (or 51.40 basis points). Fifteen RDWI members gained value last week from 0.40% (Honda) to 9.30% (IBM). Ten RDWI members lost value the previous week from -0.22% (AbbVie) to -9.35% (Intel).
BYD, Shenzhen, China, the world’s largest electric vehicle and battery manufacturer, recently announced it has started construction on its first-ever sodium-ion battery plant in Xuzhou, China. The project is worth $1.4 billion and aims to produce 30 GWh of electric capacity annually. While lithium-ion batteries are currently the dominant batteries used in electric vehicles, sodium-ion batteries offer a less expensive alternative to lithium-ion devices, used in low-cost small cars or two-wheelers that don’t require the higher energy density of lithium-ion batteries. Sodium-ion batteries were already used in VW vehicles in December 2023. They are cost-effective and safer to use than lithium-ion batteries because they do not contain flammable materials. Additionally, they perform better in extreme temperatures and charge faster than their lithium-ion counterparts.
The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Agency (NOAA), part of the U.S. Department of Commerce, announced last week that it was funded $34 million to aid in wildfire preparedness and response efforts. Over the next five years, these monies will go toward six research universities that are part of NOAA’s Cooperative Institute system to support these preparedness research efforts as part of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The goal is to improve the understanding and modeling of wildfire behavior and integrate it into weather forecasting and warnings. The University of Wisconsin, the University of Colorado, Colorado State University, the University of Maryland, Princeton University, and the University of Oklahoma are all participating in this research.
Gilead Sciences, Foster City, California, announced last week that a trial testing of Trodelvy (an antibody-drug conjugate) in non-small cell cancer patients failed to improve overall survival. While some improvement was seen, the results did not meet the Phase 3 study’s primary endpoint.
RDW Index member Sanofi, Paris, announced last week that it plans to buy assets from biopharmaceutical company Inhibrx, La Jolla, California, in a deal worth $2.2 billion. Sanofi is looking to diversify its product base and boost its pipeline of rare disease treatments. This deal follows the company’s plans to transition into a pure biopharmaceutical company by spinning off its consumer healthcare businesses and ramping up its spending on R&D.
RDWI member Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), New Brunswick, New Jersey, announced last week that it has tentatively agreed to settle an investigation brought by more than 40 states into the marketing of its talcum-based baby powder, paying about $700 million in damages. The company said this is an effort to put the matter behind it. New Mexico and Mississippi have filed lawsuits against JNJ alleging the violation of consumer-protection laws. This settlement would only address a small portion of the litigation over the safety and marketing of JNJ’s talcum powders. It does not resolve the personal injury lawsuits filed by more than 52,000 plaintiffs in various U.S. courts against JNJ that allege the powders caused cancer.
Global electricity demand is expected to grow faster over the next three years. However, record power generation from renewables and nuclear are expected to cover the surge. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), Paris, emissions are also likely to decline. Electricity demand is expected to increase by 3.4% annually through 2026. CO2 emissions from electricity generation rose 1% in 2023, but the IEA predicts a fall of 2% in 2024 and an even smaller increase in 2025 and 2026.
Lithium battery manufacturer Sion Power, Tucson, Arizona, announced last week that it had raised $75 million from battery manufacturer LG Energy Solutions, Seoul, South Korea. Sion plans to use this capital to continue developing the compression technology that it says will boost the range efficiency of EVs. The raised capital will allow Sion to scale up its business to supply batteries commercially in 2027.
Semiconductor memory chip manufacturer SK Hynix, Incheon, South Korea, reported last week that its operating profit turned positive in the fourth quarter, ending four consecutive quarters of losses. Revenue grew 47% year over year, but the company still reported a net loss due primarily to the value of its stake in Japanese chip maker Kioxia, Tokyo. Chip demand from smartphones and personal computers has been revived as manufacturers have slowly digested large inventories. SK Hynix has also emerged as an early leader in the types of memory chips widely used in AI.
RDW index member Intel, Santa Clara, California, announced a tepid outlook for sales in its current quarter, signaling further challenges for its business amid signs that the personal computer (PC) market is recovering. Intel forecasted $12.7 billion in sales for the first quarter, which is higher than first-quarter sales in 2023 but lower than analysts expected per Factset, Norwalk, Connecticut.
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 2020 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) that invested a cumulative total of nearly 260 billion dollars in R&D in 2019, or approximately 10% of all the R&D spending 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.