Select your language: EN JP

Lux Take on News: Weekly Round-Up January 31, 2020

Lux Research
January 31, 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.

African swine fever (ASF) vaccine developed by USDA research group

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

The article published in the Journal of Virology indicates that the deletion of a previously uncharacterized gene, I177L, from ASFV-G (Georgia isolate) virus resulted in complete virus attenuation in swine following intramuscular injection. The strain produces a strong antibody response even at low doses. With ASF having significant impacts globally, especially throughout Asia, where 50% of herds have been lost, this report comes at a critical moment. ASFV isolates display diversity in particular regions of the genome, and it is difficult to say if the vaccine will remain viable across regions and isolates. Follow the research group and commercialization efforts closely, and look for ways to confirm this vaccine on regional ASFV."

P2 Science announces the close of its $12 million Series C with Chanel as notable new investor

12599-thumb-square-1Kristin Marshall, Senior Research Associate | @KMarsh4Bio Ico twitter
Lux Take: Very Important

Lead investor HG Ventures (the venture capital arm of The Heritage Group) and Chanel joined existing investors to close the round. P2 Science will use the funds to expand its capacity and enhance its distillation capabilities at its production plant, where it will continue to focus on products for cosmetics and F&F applications. Its products offer a cost-competitive alternative to ingredients extracted directly from plants (extracts can be difficult to formulate with depending on how they are processed and can contain allergens). With the addition of strategic investors in specialty chemicals and personal care, P2 Science's platform is demonstrating its value in these smaller-volume markets."

Massachusetts joins New York and Washington in pledging net-zero emissions by 2050

Benjamin Torda

Benjamin Torda, Research Associate
Lux Take: Very Important

On the heels of Washington's announcement in December, Massachusett's governor pledged the state would reach net-zero emissions by 2050. This announcement brings the number of states going beyond power grid emissions mandates into the difficult tasks of decarbonizing the transportation, commercial and industrial (C&I), and residential sectors to three. These three states represent a significant market (around 10% of the U.S. population or roughly 34 million people). The U.S. regulatory landscape is shifting quickly, driven by states; clients in the U.S. must start planning for operating in a low-carbon regulatory environment, and companies worldwide should look for new opportunities among such massive shifts in energy and transportation."

Miso Robotics' new cooking robot, Flippy, reduces spatial footprint

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

"The new design uses a robotic arm that attaches to a standard kitchen hood, rather than requiring a stand-alone cart as in the previous version. The company says this will allow easier integration with existing human workers, as there won't be an obstacle where people are walking. CEO Buck Jordan claimed the new design will also work well in completely automated "dark kitchens." While Flippy could be a part of dark kitchens, the move from partially automated to fully automated environments generally requires completely new systems, as we've seen in fully automated microfulfillment centers. Companies may want to focus on technology more directly focusing on full automation, such as what's used in Boston-based restaurant Spyce."

Zero-waste turbines? We're a fan

Cecilia GeeCecilia Gee, Analyst
Lux Take: Very Important

"Fiberglass, the main material in wind turbine blades, does not offer much value after use, and recycling efforts have hence been low. As groups begin to decommission turbines, disposal of an expected 43 million MT of waste by 2050 is an increasingly critical issue. However, landfilling may currently be the most cost-effective strategy. While this announcement is the first of its scale from the world's largest turbine producer, Vestas has a long road ahead in valorizing sustainability for wind. If successful, it may be key for Vestas to differentiate itself against major competitors Siemens Gamesa and GE. Still, Vestas must create more value beyond just zero-waste, like with refurbishing and buyback programs, to surmount present economics."

Amid regulatory uncertainty, Uber moves to electrify its London operations

Robinson, ChristopherChristopher Robinson,  Senior Analyst | @CRobinsonLux Ico twitter
Lux Take: Very Important

"Uber's announcement provides a useful playbook for decarbonizing ride-hailing operations. Uber paid for the effort by adding a £0.15 per mile fee, which raised more than $100 million in the past year to be used to purchase and support the vehicles. While many consumers are unwilling to pay the higher upfront costs for an electric vehicle, Uber's ownership of the fleet will allow those consumers to access lower operating costs and allows Uber to more quickly decarbonize operations. Although companies should understand that Uber may still lose its license over repeated safety concerns, recognize that this strategy is an effective way to decarbonize your fleet and watch for further details regarding how Uber may deploy charging infrastructure."

U.S. companies (UPS, Ford, MGM and others) sidestepping slow mobile operator network buildout in favor of private networks

13815-thumb-squareMichael Sullivan, Analyst
Lux Take: Very Important

"UPS, Ford, and MGM Resorts are among a growing number of U.S. companies from different industries testing large-scale private 4G and 5G networks. UPS plans to test a network operating at 900 MHz and 3.5 GHz spectrum at its Billings, Montana, distribution center to enable customers to track packages via mobile connections within a 10 km radius. Ford is planning a 5G network in a parking structure in Dearborn, Michigan, to test connected vehicle services. MGM is planing a CBRS network for guest services. Together with other companies, such as Corning, these plans indicate the impatience of large companies with mobile operators' consumer-oriented network rollouts. Investing upfront in private networks is a viable strategy to gain control."

New Balance continues to develop 3D-printed footwear solutions through partnerships

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

New Balance has been quite active in developing 3D-printed footwear solutions in the past few years. Recently, it partnered with HP and Superfeet to produce custom insoles. Although there is not a technological improvement or a novel application here, it is a good example of process innovation. Namely, for individualized product manufacturing, an end-to-end solution addressing the whole manufacturing workflow is essential. Looking at the partnerships in place, this solution fulfills all the necessary steps in the workflow, including 3D scanning, design, 3D printing hardware and materials, and insole manufacturing expertise." 

Bird acquires European rival and adds to latest funding round

Chad Goldberg  Lux ResearchChad Goldberg, Research Associate
Lux Take: Average Importance

"The announcement highlights the company's $75 million Series D extension and acquisition of Berlin-based scooter operator Circ. The news clearly indicates positive momentum for Bird as it looks to expand its European operations, and Circ's established European network and relationship with local governments were important factors for Bird; companies looking to acquire operating licenses in foreign locales tend to be disadvantaged. Additionally, Circ's European presence in 43 cities across 12 countries is more impressive than that of its largest regional rival Voi, which, with twice the funding of Circ, would have proven to be a more expensive acquisition with less value-add." 

Burcon inks deal with Nestlé for plant-based protein ingredients


Thomas Hayes, Analyst
Lux Take: Average Importance

"The off-take of protein by Nestlé makes Burcon's outlook brighter, as the company has struggled to earn revenue in the past. It won't come until late 2020 at the earliest, though, when the pea and canola protein production facility via its joint venture Merit Functional Foods should come online. Nevertheless, the timing was critical for Burcon, as direct competitor Roquette secured a three-year deal to supply Beyond Meat with pea protein just last week. For Nestlé, while no specific use cases were mentioned in the press release, it's likely that it will first employ the pea protein for its Awesome Burger in the U.S. Expect similar announcements from CPGs to follow as the supply chain for second-generation plant proteins builds up."

Bayer partners with Azitra to develop skin microbiome-targeting products

Harini Venkataraman Ph.D. Lux ResearchHarini Venkataraman, Ph.D., Analyst
Lux Take: Average Importance

"As part of this joint development agreement, Bayer looks to leverage Azitra's microbiome modulation technology with a focus on Staphylococcus epidermidis bacterial strains, targeting a number of skin conditions, including eczema and atopic dermatitis. Azitra recently raised a $14 million Series A led by KdT Ventures and Bios Partners, bringing its total funding to $20.8 million. A partnership with a big industry player like Bayer is likely to help validate Azitra's technology potential and pave way for future licensing agreements. As the skin microbiome space gains momentum, industry partnerships will be key to accelerating the commercialization timelines of skin microbiome-modulating products."

Mattel follows in footsteps of Lego by announcing limited release of Mega Bloks made from Braskem's bio-based polyethylene

Gihan Hewage, AnalystHewage, Gihan
Lux Take: Low Importance

"While Mattel did not disclose how many bio-based toys would be produced, the release is likely small, as it is limited to three items to be initially sold in Europe. Although Mattel says the blocks are combatible with existing Mega Bloks, it is unlikely that it will use bio-polyethylene (PE) to replace all the material used for Mega Bloks, in a similar manner to Lego's use of bio-PE for a limited release of its bricks. This announcement follows the same trend as the majority of Braskem's bio-PE customers and other brands announcing sustainable products – products are marketed as sustainable to take advantage of the sustainability craze but do not have a viable path to widespread adoption."

Ford approves renewable diesel for its Transit vans, showing the auto industry's stranglehold on biofuels expansion

YuanSheng Yu Photo_edited

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

"After testing its 2.0 L EcoBlue engine, Ford officially approved the use of renewable diesel in its Transit vans without any necessary modifications or additional servicing. While an important development for fleet operators looking to decarbonize, Ford's announcement is late, as renewable diesel has been approved by several automakers with medium-duty and heavy-duty vehicles, such as Volvo, Scania, and Mack. While advanced biofuels development has stalled, renewable diesel has emerged as the most successful advanced biofuel, with 1.4 billion gallons per year of capacity globally. Growth remains strong at 17% CAGR through 2025 for a total of 4.8 billion gallons per year, largely to support the heavy-duty and shipping industry."




- Blog: The Future of Meat is... Protein

- Executive Summary: 20 for 20 Annual Report (Free Download)

- Blog: 5 Major Digital Health Trends to Impact 2020

- Blog: Can Innovation Stop a Global 

Download the 20 for 20 List    Schedule Demo