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Lux Take on News: Weekly Round-Up January 24, 2020

Lux Research
January 24, 2020

Every week our analysts gather the biggest headlines and trends and provide their analysis on major industry developments in the news. Our researchers evaluate news based on potential importance ranking developments from Truly Disruptive to Ignore. Check out our thoughts on the top emerging technology and innovation news and trends across all industries below.

Each Friday we will highlight our Lux Take on the news for the week

Genetically engineered chickens will have benefits beyond the livestock industry

Laura KrishfieldLaura Krishfield, Research Associate | @LKrishfield Ico twitter
Lux Take: Very Important

Using CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing in chicken primordial germ cells, scientists have produced broiler chickens resistant to the avian leukosis virus (ALV). ALV is responsible for significant economic losses in the global poultry industry; however, there is currently no vaccine identified to protect chickens from infection. This development, currently being mulled over for commercial domains by Biopharm, also shows potential applications for preventing avian influenza. The impact of precision medicine within agriculture is just another example of the role emerging technologies may have in mitigating global pandemics. Companies should watch for developments surrounding gene editing in livestock, particularly those promoting food safety."

FERC's minimum offering price rule for PJM's capacity market would alter energy mix but faces challenges

Benjamin Torda

Benjamin Torda, Research Associate
Lux Take: Very Important

"The rule sets minimum prices based on technology for bidding into PJM's capacity market (which rewards future generation capacity). FERC's stated goal is to restore competitiveness by countering state subsidies to renewable plants, though the mandate doesn't apply to existing assets. The rule also includes several possible exemptions. In practice, the policy will boost fossil fuel plants, raise costs, and pose a critical threat to nuclear and offshore wind; solar and onshore wind mostly bid into the energy market and are less threatened. FERC's ruling faces challenges, and state renewables mandates will still drive clean energy adoption, though clients should expect political battles to influence the future energy mix in the U.S."

New York City to use mobile air quality sensing solutions, suggesting business opportunities for sensor companies

Lisheng Gao

Lisheng Gao, Analyst
Lux Take: Very Important

"The city plans to use mobile air quality sensors to monitor air pollution in the Bronx. The solar-powered air quality sensors use a laser to detect pollutants and are mounted on top of municipal vehicles. This project will allow the city to get hyperlocal air quality data at a lower cost than using conventional stationary sensing methods. MIT's Senseable City Lab developed the sensors and offered them to the city for free. Six major global cities have adopted its technology, with more cities joining the list. Companies should monitor the progress of the projects in New York City and evaluate possible partnership opportunities with the MIT lab in developing both sensing and data modeling technologies or offering sensors."

Skip will start regularly reporting scooter parts consumption and repair data

Chad Goldberg  Lux ResearchChad Goldberg, Research Associate
Lux Take: Very Important

The company will become the first to offer consistent transparency around product and component life cycles. These reports intend to help quantify reductions in carbon footprint and provide sustainability metrics to municipalities, policymakers, and community members. Impressive to note is that Skip's first report highlights an 82% reduction in replacement and disposal of parts for its latest scooter model compared to its prior model, dropping from an equivalent 26,000 parts replaced to 4,800 per 1 million trips. This is an important indication to stakeholders that micromobility companies, and Skip specifically, are actually reducing maintenance costs and improving unit economics, claims that, until now, have had little supporting evidence."

Memphis Meats looks to commercialize cell-based meat with $161 million Series B funding

Harini Venkataraman Ph.D. Lux ResearchHarini Venkataraman, Ph.D., Analyst
Lux Take: Very Important

This funding round was led by Temasek, SoftBank Group, and Norwest, with participation from several other investors, including previous ones like Cargill and Tyson Foods. Memphis is the first company in the fast-growing cell-based meat space to raise Series B funding. With about $180 million in funding raised to date, the company hopes to build a pilot production facility and further the commercialization of clean meat products in coming years. Despite this influx of cash, Memphis still has an arduous task in terms of developing cost-efficient serum-free media to achieve cost parity. Nevertheless, cell-based meat will be an important part of the future of proteins, opening up multiple investment and partnership opportunities for companies."

Dover acquires Systech Solutions, a provider of serialization, traceability, and anti-counterfeiting solutions

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

Systech provides product authentication services to 19 of the top 20 pharmaceutical companies in the world in addition to other industry verticals like CPG, spirits, and nutraceuticals. The company leverages the inconsistency of barcode printers that produce small-scale variations in different barcode features, such as edge linearity, contrast variations, region discontinuities, and extraneous marks. Systech's computer vision-based software creates a unique digital fingerprint of each product by reading those variations and allows users to scan products using their smartphones for authenticity. Companies should expect to see increasing use of similar technologies, as more than $300 billion worth of counterfeit products are sold every year."

SoftBank and others pour $263 million into warehouse robotics startup Berkshire Grey

Josh Kern Analyst Lux ResearchJosh Kern, Analyst | @josh_kern_ Ico twitter
Lux Take: Very Important

The startup combines artificial intelligence, machine vision, gripping, and robotics into a full solution capable of picking, packing, and sorting individual items in warehouses. The new investment will be used to fuel international expansion and acquisitions. With an investment round about 10× higher than comparable startups' recent rounds, the company will have a good cash position to consolidate more cash-strapped robotics startups under its wing. This can be an effective approach for robotics startups in the warehouse space. OnRobot had a similar strategy, merging and acquiring multiple smaller robotic gripper startups, leading to a well-rounded product line of innovative grippers that can suit almost any application."

The future of manufacturing: Automation does not equal faster production; 3D printing will not replace traditional manufacturing

XIAO ZHONGXiao Zhong, Ph.D., Analyst | @conanxzxz Ico twitter
Lux Take: Very Important

The article discusses how digital technologies will alter manufacturing. Co-bots will change the work environment to be more collaborative and data-driven, 3D printing will penetrate deeper and integrate with the automation created by robots, wearables leveraging AR/VR will continue to improve worker safety, and the demand of 5G materials will increase further. The author suggests a promising future, and we'd like to see that happen but wanted to call out the unglamorous truth: Improving automation will not always yield higher throughput, Elon Musk's comment on Tesla's car product being a case in point: Too many robots too early equals slow production. On another point, 3D printing will coexist with, not replace, traditional manufacturing."

Google adds features to mobile search to make shopping easier

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

In the search results for a product, Google has a new section called "popular products" that shows product categories, pictures, the number of carriers, and the lowest price. Consumers can choose the categories to narrow down results and click product photos for the price from each specific carrier. The new features can cover all products not on Amazon, and it's free for all retailers to make their products visible in the search results. Companies developing consumer products should monitor the use of these new features, as they make product and price comparison easier, which will concentrate online sales to the carriers with price advantages. The features also help Google accelerate its understanding of the real-time demand of each consumer."

UMAS reports the shipping industry will require $1.9 trillion to transition to a zero-carbon by 2050

YuanSheng Yu Photo_edited

Yuan-Sheng Yu, Senior Analyst | @808sAndInnovate Ico twitter
Lux Take: Average Importance

"University Maritime Advisory Services recently released a report that found it would require between $1.4 trillion and $1.9 trillion to fully decarbonize the shipping industry by 2050. Of that amount, approximately 13% would go toward new engines and fuel storage technologies, while the remaining 87% is entirely toward infrastructure and supply chain development. While the investment numbers are astronomical and very unlikely to come to fruition, the latter should not be viewed in a silo. Green and blue hydrogen development will have crosscutting sector implications, as its use in the industrial sector will likely be the driving force for any potential developments for ammonia as the future fuel in shipping as UMAS assumed."

Elementum 3D raises funding from Sumitomo Corporation of Americas to expand its material production capabilities

Tugce UsuluTugce Uslu, PDEng, Analyst
Lux Take: Average Importance

Sumitomo Corporation of Americas (SCOA) invested in Elementum 3D in a Series A funding round. The funding will help Elementum 3D to expand its R&D and production capabilities to make specialty materials for 3D printing (3DP). The company's primary R&D is on metallic powders; it currently produces and sells several types of metal powders developed for laser powder bed fusion processes. In the metal 3DP space, large corporations like Carpenter and Sandvik are the main material suppliers, and they acquire smaller innovative companies to expand their 3DP materials portfolio. As Elementum raised funding Sumitomo, it is unlikely to be acquired by one of these active metal powder suppliers, rather continuing to develop and sell its own materials."

Axa Insurance partners with Doctor Anywhere to jointly launch telehealth services in Singapore

13275-thumb-square (1)Nardev Ramanathan, Ph.D., Analyst | @Nardev_R Ico twitter
Lux Take: Average Importance

"Axa has partnered with Doctor Anywhere to bring telehealth services to its clients. While telehealth technology has been around, most of it is not regulated or reimbursable. However, Singapore's Ministry of Health (MOH) recently launched a regulatory sandbox for telehealth services to encourage new technology to be validated in a safe environment, as MOH is clear on making telehealth a key component of Singapore's healthcare landscape. AXA and Doctor Anywhere are leveraging this opportunity to enhance their core offerings and build better customer engagement in an increasingly patient-centric, decentralized healthcare system. Companies should note this development as they seek new opportunities in an evolving healthcare landscape."

BlueNalu forms alliance with Nutreco


Thomas Hayes, Analyst
Lux Take: Low Importance

"This is the first time a player solely focused on animal feed and nutrition has engaged with a cellular agriculture startup. Given the focus on aquaculture from both BlueNalu and Nutreco, a pairing makes sense, but the press release was scarce on details regarding what the two actually plan to work on together. BlueNalu did state, however, that it plans to release seafood products in a test market within the next two years. This comes a month after the company announced its development of a whole-muscle yellowtail fish fillet. Stay tuned for an upcoming Analyst Insight where we'll provide an update on these events and more in the rapidly evolving cellular agriculture space."


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