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Lux Take on News: Weekly Round-Up April 3, 2020

Lux Research
April 3, 2020

Every week our researchers comb through the biggest headlines and provide their analysis on major industry developments and trends in the news. Our analysts evaluate news based on potential importance ranking developments from Truly Disruptive to Ignore.

Each Friday we will highlight our Lux Take on the news for the week. Check out our thoughts on the top emerging technology and innovation news, for the first week of April below.

U.S. Federal Communications Commission to provide $200 million to bankroll hospital telehealth equipment in response to COVID-19

13261-thumb-squareDanielle Bradnan, Research Associate @DBradnan Ico twitter
Lux Take: Truly Disruptive

"This is important not only for managing the COVID-19 crisis but also for establishing telehealth services in hospitals throughout the U.S. After this crisis has passed (and estimates for a vaccine are 18 months out), this equipment is not going to go away. Physicians and patients will have developed a comfort with these tools – and, coupled with access to equipment and a newly relaxed regulatory policy, many of the historical infrastructural hurdles to telehealth adoption will be removed. Companies should anticipate that telehealth is going to continue to grow and should look to invest in flavors of telehealth that support video conferencing, such as remote monitoring devices like AliveCor's cardiac monitormHealth, and digital therapeutics"

U.S. Federal Communications Commission to provide $200 million to bankroll hospital telehealth equipment in response to COVID-19

13261-thumb-squareDanielle Bradnan, Research Associate @DBradnan Ico twitter
Lux Take: Truly Disruptive

"The key thing about this development is that Pear Therapeutics submitted to the FDA for approval via two separate pathways – the precertification pathway, and the more traditional 510(k) pathway. The precertification pathway was expected because digitial therapeutics are the reason that it exists, but by leveraging the 510(k) pathway, Pear is legitimizing the technology not only as part of a special process but as part of the broader approval landscape. Using the 510(k) pathway successfully opens the door for other digital therapeutics and is a turning point in the approval process for digital therapeutics overall. Companies should be engaging with this fast-moving space as it rapidly gains legitimacy in the healthcare ecosystem."

Counterfeiters take advantage of coronavirus crisis, infiltrate market with counterfeit face masks

Miraj Mainali Lux Research Research AssociateMiraj Mainali, Research Associate
Lux Take: Very Important

"In addition to counterfeit protective gear, there were also recent cases of counterfeit diagnostics kits. Furthermore, medications and vaccines are highly anticipated to be counterfeited next. As we recently discussed in our insight, incumbent measures, while inexpensive, can no longer prevent counterfeiting. Therefore, governments and manufacturers of such critical supplies should do everything in their power now to prevent counterfeiting. The only thing that is worse than the lack of medical supplies amid a pandemic is the availability of fake products that give a false sense of security and put millions of lives at risk. Companies should read our insight to see which anti-counterfeiting tools are suitable for their products."

Predictive AI tool identifies which newly infected COVID-19 patients will go on to develop severe respiratory disease

Nardev Ramanathan Ph.DNardev Ramanathan, Ph.D., Analyst | @Nardev_R Ico twitter
Lux Take: Very Important

"Most countries impacted by COVID-19 have had huge challenges coping with the flow of COVID-19 patients in their hospitals. Healthcare workers globally have been pushed to the brink of human operating capacity, both physically and mentally. This vicious cycle can potentially be mitigated with a better way to triage care. Many patients are also asymptomatic and recover quickly; if those patients can be identified early, healthcare workers can focus on those who truly need urgent care. Companies looking to invest in innovative tech to combat COVID-19 should cast a wider net beyond vaccines and diagnostics and keep a close watch on predictive capabilities like this that ease mounting pressure on infrastructure and workers."

eVTOL developer ASX signs MOU with world's largest Tier 1 aerostructures manufacturer

Chloe HerreraChloe Herrera, Research Associate
Lux Take: Very Important

"Scientists at the Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology (SAIT) have developed a sulfide-based all-solid-state battery using a high nickel cathode and silver nanoparticle-black carbon composite anode. Silver is soluble in lithium and encourages uniform deposition of lithium on the current collector. Solid state batteries offer improved safety over batteries using liquid electrolytes and can reach energy densities if paired with a high capacity anode. Dendrite formation and production limitations have slowed lithium metal anode development. The achieved metrics point to the importance of materials research in battery technology development, but companies should remain realistic about which materials can be implemented at a commercial scale."

Conagen announces strategic investment from Sumitomo Chemical, targeting "sustainable" chemicals

Gihan Hewage, Analyst | @GihanGoesGreen Ico twitterHewage, Gihan
Lux Take: Very Important

"While few details regarding the partnership were disclosed – including the target molecules and production method (fermentation vs. enzymatic) – this announcement is still noteworthy. Conagen will likely target the chemical and materials space for this partnership, signifying growth beyond its typical food and cosmetic ingredients. Although Conagen is not Sumitomo Chemical's first synbio partner (that was Zymergen), Conagen's access to fermentation capacity distinguishes it from other startups like Zymergen."

Communication platform WhatsApp helps Indian farmers receive agronomic advice during COVID lockdown

12744-thumb-squareJoshua Haslun, Ph.D., Senior Analyst | @JHaslun Ico twitter
Lux Take: Very Important

"With a pan-India lockdown in place, growers have the opportunity to receive agronomic advice from ag scientists listed in Krishi Vigyan Kendra via phone or WhatsApp on a 24/7 basis. Communication networks are not new to agriculture, especially the smallholder sector, but they have struggled to gain broad use. By working with a pervasive communication app like WhatsApp that already delivers agri-news, there is a real potential for information and services to evolve. Sheltering in place restrictions may very well be the catalyst that forces these groups to overcome engagement barriers, while also bringing large communication companies into the ag mix. Companies, look to engage with communication developers to capitalize on smallholder needs."

FibriCheck app detects nocturnal atrial fibrillation for at-home monitoring – bypassing COVID-19 supply chain issues, supporting telehealth

13261-thumb-squareDanielle Bradnan, Research Associate @DBradnan Ico twitter
Lux Take: Very Important

"FibriCheck has developed a smartwatch-agnostic app for the detection of atrial fibrillation. This development is important for two reasons right now: 1) As a software-only product, the app is not impacted by the supply chain problems threatening consumer electronics manufacturers but instead leverages existing products on the market (and in consumer homes), and 2) it is tapping into a strong need for remote monitoring products and services right now to support video conferencing telehealth modes due to COVID-19. Companies should partner with or acquire these types of health-focused software startups to become trusted providers of healthcare solutions in an uncertain time and to maintain a foothold in healthcare after the crisis has passed."

Generatively designed masks ofter customization, and even fashion (seems unimportant here), but can they stop COVID-19?

Xiao Zhong - Lux Research -Xiao Zhong, Ph.D., Analyst | @conanxzxz Ico twitter
Lux Take: Average Importance

"To respond to COVID-19LuxMea Studio has partnered with Shapeways to 3D print generatively designed (GD) masks. According to LuxMea, a company that provides GD solutions, the masks are tailor-made using individual facial profiles, including those of children. Moreover, they are washable and come with replaceable filters. Users can provide a few facial measurements online, and LuxMea will generate a bespoke mask model. Shapeways will then 3D print and ship the mask to them. As we discussed recently, untested masks could cause performance problems. Although the chief medical officer of Massachusetts General Hospital is a trial user of the mask, it is unclear how well the mask performs and whether it is medically graded – likely not yet."

Wastewater-based epidemiology can be an early warning tool for COVID-19 spread

Olsen, Sara

Sara Olson, Ph.D., Director, Research | @SaraOlsonLux Ico twitter
Lux Take: Average Importance


"A research group from the Cranfield University Water Science Institute has developed a proof-of-concept testing device using paper-based diagnostics to identify genetic material from the SARS-CoV-2 virus (which causes COVID-19 disease) in wastewater, which would indicate the presence of the virus in local populations, regardless of notable public health-related symptoms or diagnostic test results. The low cost and paper-based nature of the approach make it extremely attractive. Companies should work to fold it into existing POC diagnostic efforts. The combined testing modalities have the potential to both predict and mitigate the spread of this virus – and future viruses that come to prominence, whether on a regional basis or more globally."

BMW shares details on upcoming fuel cell powertrain, slated for late 2020s release

Robinson, ChristopherChristopher Robinson, Senior Analyst | @CRobinsonLux Ico twitter
Lux Take: Low Importance

"Renault's China strategy was shaped mostly by financial performance, as its joint venture with Dongfeng had reportedly lost more than $200 million in 2019 alone. That venture focused on combustion vehicles, and Renault's revised strategy in China saw it keep its electric vehicle joint venture with Jiangling Motors – likely influenced by the fact that more than half the world's battery electric vehicles (BEV) were sold in the country. Clients should recognize that other automakers with struggling joint ventures – such as Dongfeng Peugeot Citroën and Changan Ford, which both face overcapacity – could adopt a similar strategy focused on BEVs in part due to financial pressure from COVID-19.

Huawei updates smartwatch models with more emphasis on sports and healthcare

Jerrold Wang Lux Research AnalystJerrold Wang, Analyst | @jerroldwang Ico twitter
Lux Take: Low Importance

For healthcare, Huawei added features like menstrual cycle management in addition to the existing features that monitor blood oxygen saturation, arrhythmias, and sleep. For sports, the new models can recognize 100 types of sports activities and analyze consumer performance like aerobic and anaerobic workout effects, recovery time, and training intensity. Huawei’s emphasis on health and sports is aligned with our identified trends in smartwatch, but the company's healthcare features are not new, so its products are only par with other leading brands like Apple and Verily. The broad sports coverage is interesting, as it can serve diversified sporty consumers and allow the company to identify niche market demands for future product updates."

eVTOL developer ASX signs MOU with world's largest Tier 1 aerostructures manufacturer

Chad Goldberg - Research Associate at Lux ResearchChad Goldberg, Research Associate
Lux Take: Ignore

"Michigan-based Airspace Experience Technologies (ASX) says Spirit AeroSystems will help with structural design, engineering, final assembly, and eventual mass production of ASX's MOBi-ONE passenger eVTOL. Considering that competitors are years into testing, validation, and aircraft certification efforts for their commercial systems, this announcement currently means little, as it appears to simply be a first step toward full-scale prototype development. While strategic partnerships between promising startups and legacy aviation companies may bode well for development, ASX has quite a bit of ground to cover and significant funding to raise in order to compete in the air taxi space. Ignore this company until we see its full-scale prototype."





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