The R&D World Index (RDWI) for the week ending August 6, 2021 closed at 5,447.40 for the 25 companies in the R&D World Index. The Index was up 1.10% (or 59.11 basis points) from the week ending July 30, 2021. The stock of 17 R&D World Index members gained value from 0.19% (Apple Computer) to 8.19% (Eli Lilly & Co.). The stock of eight R&D World Index members lost value from -0.15% (Daimler AG) to -3.15% (General Motors).
The World Health Organization (WHO) last week issued a revised draft guidance to the pharmaceutical industry addressing good manufacturing practices (GMPs) for investigational drug products. This also included guidelines for GMP principles for R&D facilities in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. The draft was issued by WHO’s Prequalification Team Inspections Services (PQT) to address inspections for COVID-19 therapeutics. The draft includes new recommendations on personnel, recalls, and shipping of products. WHO stated that the objective of the update is to align with current expectations and trends in GMPs and to harmonize the text with the principles from other related international guidelines. The draft covers a wide scope of GMP issues including quality management, quality risk management, personnel and documentation considerations.
San Diego-headquartered wireless technology company Qualcomm made a $4.6 billion offer to buy Sweden’s auto-technology company Veoneer last week in an attempt to outbid by 18.4% Canada’s Magna International. Qualcomm is looking to diversify beyond its core mobile phone chip businesses. Qualcomm has built up its automotive chip business over the past several years but is not a leading supplier of driver assistance products. Veoneer’s Arriver unit develops autonomous driving software. Veoneer and Qualcomm agreed to collaborate in 2020 combining Qualcomm’s chips with Veoneer’s software.
Global paint manufacturer Sherwin-Williams last week submitted plans for its Global R&D Center in the Cleveland suburb of Brecksville, Ohio. The plans call for a 600,000 ft2 campus to house 900 people responsible for product development, coatings research, color technology and process engineering. The company plans to invest more than $250 million to build the new R&D Center. The Center is expected to provide a larger footprint for current and future needs and development of state-of-the-art equipment designed around the company’s workflow, processes and collaboration needs. In July, the company submitted plans for a new $300 million Cleveland headquarters complex housing 3,100 employees. The company plans to start construction on both projects in late-2021 with a completion scheduled for late-2024.
Taiwan-based Foxconn Technology Group, the world’s largest electronics contract manufacturer announced last week that it would acquire a 6-in. semiconductor wafer manufacturing facility from Taiwan’s Micronix International for about $91 million. The silicon-carbide chips produced in this facility are used primarily for electric-vehicles (EVs), giving Foxconn a strong position in this supply chain. The acquisition allows Foxconn to supply chips for about 30,000 EVs a month.
Energy analysts expect Exxon Mobil to pledge before the end of 2021 to reduce their net carbon emissions to zero by 2050. While no details are forthcoming, the pledge is expected to include emissions directly produced by Exxon’s assets (manufacturing sites). Exxon executives have previously stated that they would achieve a net-zero target over the next 30 years without exiting oil and gas production by deploying large-scale carbon capture and storage projects. These projects are tentative at best according to the analysts and require government support and subsidies that currently do not exist.
German pharmaceutical giant Bayer last week announced it was purchasing San Diego-based biotech Vividion Therapeutics for $1.5 billion. Vividion’s drug discovery platform uses chemoproteomics to identify new binding sites on proteins and find small-molecule compounds that interact with them. Vividion’s current in-house R&D efforts are still at the preclinical stage, but include drug candidates for oncology and immune diseases. The biotech’s pipeline includes compounds that block or activate transcription factors involved in immune-inflammatory responses. Bayer also acquired Noria Therapeutics and PSMA Therapeutics in June and partnered with Atara in 2020. The company also acquired UK-based Asklepios BioPharmaceutical for $4 billion in 2020 and KaNDy Therapeutics for $875 million.
New York-based physics software developer Schrodinger last week announced a collaboration with China’s Zai Lab, a research-based commercial stage biopharmaceutical company. Their collaboration will focus on a novel program in oncology targeting DNA damage responses. Their research will look to develop inhibition strategies for a broad range of cancers. The research program will be conducted jointly with Zai Lab providing an upfront payment to help fund Schrodinger’s share of research costs. Schrodinger will also be eligible to receive up to $340 million in preclinical, clinical, regulatory and sales-based milestone payments.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is expected to shortly announce new standards for automotive fuel efficiency and exhaust emissions. The new standards are expected to apply to vehicles through the 2026 model year. Automakers and the United Auto Workers union have fought tighter regulations and are expected to fight these as well, although the current increasing emphasis on electrification has muted some of their grievances.
China’s BeiGene biotechnology company announced plans last week to build a new campus for clinical R&D and manufacturing in Hopewell, N.J. The company plans to acquire about 42 acres for the site where it will build the R&D center with completion scheduled for mid-2023. BeiGene’s expansion into the Princeton area adds to their existing presence in Ridgefield Park, N.J. A BeiGene oncology treatment was approved by the FDA two years ago. BeiGene has five other offices within the U.S.
New York-headquartered Tonix Pharmaceuticals, a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company, announced the purchase of a 48,000 square foot R&D facility in Frederick, Md. to support its expanding infectious disease drug pipeline, include products targeting smallpox, monkeypox and SARS-CoV-2. Tonix is purchasing the facility from Southern Research, a research collaborator for its products. The facility currently operates at biosafety level 2. Southern Research plans to consolidate its research activities at its Birmingham, Ala., campus. Tonix’s Maryland facility will complement its R&D activities in New Bedford, Mass., and Hamilton, Mont.
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.
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