The R&D World Index (RDWI) for the week ending September 23, 2022, closed at 2,232.48 for the 25 companies in the RDWI. The Index was down -2.96% (or 68.04 basis points) from the week ending September 16, 2022. Only one of the 25 RDWI members gained value: 0.83% (Eli Lilly & Co.). Twenty-four of the 25 RDWI members lost value last week from -0.18% (Apple) to -16.37% (Ford Motor Co.).
RDW Index member Meta Platforms Inc. (Facebook), Menlo Park, California, announced last week that it plans to cut expenses by at least 10% over the next several months, some of which will include staff reductions. The reasons for these cuts include stalled growth and increased competition, according to analysts. The company has already initiated some of these cuts by reorganizing departments (including R&D), reducing overhead and consulting budgets and re-prioritizing corporate resources. Meta had 83,500 employees at the end of 2Q, up about 32% from a year ago.
Electric airtaxi startup Kittyhawk, Palo Alto, California, announced last week that it is closing. The company was founded in 2010 and supported by Google co-founder Larry Page. The company formed a strategic partnership with Boeing Co., Chicago, in 2019. Boeing is also involved in another flying taxi company, Wisk Aero, in which it has invested $450 million. The Kittyhawk closure will not affect Wisk Aero, according to Boeing, which is still committed to its continued development of automated and uncrewed aircraft for transporting passengers and cargo around cities.
Not unexpectedly, the cost of lithium carbonate used in the manufacture of batteries for electric vehicles (EVs) was noted last week increasing to $71,500/metric ton in China, according to Benchmark Mineral Intelligence, London. These record-setting prices are being driven by an increase in EV sales in China, the world’s largest market for EVs. China’s Passenger Car Association, Shanghai, forecasts six million EVs will be sold in China in 2022, twice what was sold in 2021. Traders and analysts expect demand for lithium compounds to surge in the U.S. and elsewhere as automakers phase out internal combustion engines and switch to EVs. China currently dominates the refining of industrial-grade lithium carbonate and hydroxide to battery cathode manufacturers.
Next Gen Foods, Singapore, announced last week the creation of its U.S. headquarters and the opening of its R&D and innovation center in Chicago. Next Gen manufactures TiNDLE, a chicken-like foodstuff made from plants. The company’s R&D facility will include a team of food scientists, product innovation experts and culinarians who will oversee operations of the joint lab and test kitchen spaces. TiNDLE is the first chicken made from plants that was created specifically with and by chefs, having the taste, texture and aroma of chicken that can be molded to fit any cuisine. It was the winner of the National Restaurant Association’s 2022 Food and Beverage Innovation Award.
RDW Index member Johnson & Johnson, New Brunswick, New Jersey, announced last week that it has opened its San Francisco Bay campus, a state-of-the-art R&D facility in the Bay Area. The 200,000 ft2 facility will be home to 400 employees, doubling the R&D presence of J&J in the area. The new campus connects scientific and technological capabilities by co-locating Janssen R&D, J&J Innovation and J&J Technology. The focus of the site spans Janssen’s therapeutic areas and key functions, including emerging science and technologies for gene and RNA therapies, treatments and approaches for retinal and infectious diseases, and advanced data science, including artificial intelligence and machine learning.
The Japanese government announced last week that it has earmarked $2 billion in funding for vaccine research to ensure that Japan is better prepared for future pandemics. Japan noted that it lagged other countries, not just in developing vaccines but also in approving them for specific maladies. Three of Japan’s most advanced COVID-19 vaccine candidates are still undergoing clinical trials in the country. Earlier in 2022, Japan created the Strategic Center of Biomedical Advanced Vaccine R&D for Preparedness and Response. This center will be based in Tokyo and supported by Osaka University, Nagasaki University, Hokkaido University and Chiba University.
The U.S. announced last week that it is in advanced talks to develop and build nuclear-powered submarines for Australia in response to China’s growing military presence in the area. This arrangement is being processed by the U.S., Australia and the U.K. and is expected to be finalized by early 2023. In addition to collaborating on the development of these eight to 12 nuclear submarines, the countries also intend to cooperate on artificial intelligence, autonomous systems, hypersonic missiles and undersea technologies. Constructing these submarines is a fast stopgap process that will require significant investment in U.S. submarine manufacturing capabilities.
According to data collected last week by researchers at Princeton University, Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, it was found that an increasing number of scientists and engineers of Chinese descent are giving up their tenured positions at top-tier American universities to leave for China or elsewhere. According to the report, these actions are being driven by an increasingly hostile political and racial environment. More than 1,400 U.S.-trained Chinese scientists dropped their U.S. academic affiliations for a Chinese one in 2021, a 22% increase over 2020.
A report from the International Federation of Robotics (IFR), Frankfort, Germany, released last week noted that China installed almost as many robots in its factories in 2021 as were installed in the rest of the world. The IFR data revealed that China installed nearly twice as many new robots as factories throughout the Americas and Europe. Part of this is revealed in that China is playing catch-up to the heavy robotic installations in Japan, Germany and South Korea. Also, since a declining population base reveals that China can no longer rely on an expanding workforce to drive economic growth, automation, and robotics represents the surest way to enhance productivity.
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) 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.