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Lux Take on News: Weekly Round-Up July 30, 2021

Lux Research
July 30, 2021

Every day our researchers read through the top innovation headlines and provide their expert opinions on important developments and industry news. Our analysts then evaluate news based on potential importance ranking the developments from Truly Disruptive to Ignore.

On Fridays we highlight our Lux Take on the top news for the week. Check out our thoughts on the latest emerging technology and innovation news for the past week below. 

Comprehensive genomic screening for pediatric cancer patients unlocks the potential of precision medicine

Nardev Ramanathan, Ph.D., Senior Analyst, Lux ResearchNardev Ramanathan, Ph.D., Senior Analyst
Lux Take: Very Important

"Genomic studies on cancer patients often focus on specific tissues and miss out on clues that might be contained elsewhere as a result. A team from St. Jude's hospital took a comprehensive approach that examined both tumor and germline genomes (the individual's genome that gets passed down to progeny). The results of the study guided a change in treatment for 12 of the 78 study patients for whom the standard of care was unsuccessful. In four of the 12 patients, the change stabilized the disease and prolonged life. While this is a relatively small-scale study, companies should note the life-saving impact that a precision medicine approach can have and consider partnerships and investments in this space that can improve the patient experience."

Corteva Agriscience obtains distribution license for Symborg's bacterial nitrogen fixation products

Jamie Grippi, Senior Research Associate, Lux Research

Jamie Grippi, Senior Research Associate
Lux Take: Very Important

"Symborg's Methylobacterium symbioticum-based nitrogen fixation products – Utrisha N and BlueN – will be distributed in the EU market, expanding on its current presence in North America, Brazil, and Argentina. Corteva's strategy of offering natural-origin products that complement, rather than compete, with established crop protection solutions will continue. Innovators, biofertilizer products are beginning to move out of North America's development arena, in this case back to the EU, and players connected to seeds are taking action due to this alignment and that with biostimulants. Crop protection and crop nutrition players are now competing in N efficiency and the 10% to 25% of N advertised to be provided by such products.

LanzaTech and Carbon Engineering partner to commercialize SAF using CO₂ from direct air capture

Oscar Gomez, Consultant, Lux ResearchOscar Gamez, Consultant
Lux Take: Very Important

"The companies announced the launch of the AtmosFUEL project, which will study the feasibility of producing 100 million liters of SAF using atmospheric CO2. British Airways and Virgin Atlantic are also contributing to the project, which will bring the direct air capture (DAC) technology from Carbon Engineering together with LanzaTech's gas-to-ethanol and ethanol-to-fuel technologies. Though the deadline to make the plant operational at the end of the decade seems realistic, companies should be aware of the challenges to making DAC economically viable at scale. Yet, given the need for DAC to support governments' decarbonization roadmaps, companies should follow this project, as it could offer a path to monetizing and scaling DAC.

NET Power and Sembcorp to develop 300 MW Allam-Fetvedt Cycle power plant in U.K.

Jinze Dai, Analyst, Lux Research

Jinze Dai, Analyst
Lux Take: Average Importance

"NET Power unveiled its plan to develop another commercial-scale supercritical CO2 natural gas power plant after announcing its first two projects in the U.S and completing a pre-front-end engineering design study funded by the U.K. government. Sembcorp's Wilton International site in North Yorkshire will host the power plant, with access to a port and pipeline to transport the generated CO2 (800,000 MT/year) to sequestration sites under the North Sea. The recent announcements are a positive sign for the commercialization of the core technologies of the Allam-Fetvedt Cycle, including oxy-fuel combustion and supercritical CO2 turbines, but companies should realize that NET Power still lacks the capital required to execute full-scale projects."New call-to-action

Wales enables digital access to genomic tests for cancer patients

Anshul Gupte, Research Associate, Lux Research

Danielle Bradnan, Analyst
Lux Take: Average Importance

"The initiative is run by Digital Health and Care Wales (DHCW), a government special health authority, and enabled by the Welsh Clinical Portal (WCP), which allows doctors to access the genetic tests of cancer patients. The DHCW claims the move aids multidisciplinary teams in decentralized locations to more efficiently identify how genomics could impact treatment or be used for more personalized options. Although currently limited to oncology in this case, the accessibility of genetic information could have widespread impact on other care domains as well, and companies should note that this is part of a broader trend in healthcare of optimizing the patient journey."

Continuous Composites raises $17 million Series A

Akshay Chaudhari, Ph.D., Analyst, Lux Research

Akshay Chaudhari, Ph.D., Analyst
Lux Take: Average Importance

"Continuous Composites plans to use the funding to commercialize its technology and launch a standard turnkey solution. However, it faces two major issues – first, steep competition from players like MarkforgedArevo, and Mantis Composites; second, its ability to protect IP. Recently, Continuous Composites filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Markforged, which involves four of Markforged's flagship continuous fiber printers. This litigation will have a significant impact on the future of both companies, irrespective of who wins."

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ArcelorMittal to test carbon recycling technology with Sekisui Chemical

Oscar Gomez, Consultant, Lux Research

Oscar Gamez, Consultant
Lux Take: Average Importance

"Following the announcement of its spinoff for nickel sulfide operations in Australia, Neometals formed this JV with SMS Group to commission a Li-ion battery (LIB) recycling demonstration plant in Germany. Neometals already claimed to develop a sustainable process targeting end-of-life LIB and plans to recover materials like lithium cobalt oxide and nickel with this plant. The initial phase will involve shredding, though it plans to use hydrometallurgy at a later stage. With the disposal of spent batteries becoming a challenge, companies interested in this development should note that the JV is indicative of a slowly maturing recycling industry, but dreams of a circular economy won't be realized until hydrometallurgy successfully scales.

Veg of Lund launches potato-based milk into the competitive dairy alternative space

Jerrold Wang, Analyst, Lux Research Jerrold Wang, Analyst
Lux Take: Average Importance

"The product, called DUG, has nutritional features like low saturated fats and sugars and enriched vitamins (D and B12). Veg of Lund claims improved sustainability through potato production characteristics including production per acre and lower water usage compared to incumbents like grains and almonds. The value propositions in both well-being and sustainability make DUG differentiated and worth monitoring. However, its success depends on factors like consumer satisfaction (especially with taste and texture), diversification by established brands into other plant-based milks, and fermentation-derived dairy alternatives. Nonetheless, potatoes are an interesting source, with China, India, Russia, the U.S., and the EU as key producers." 

Mighty Buildings raises total of $62 million to further develop its construction 3D printing technology 

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

"There are several construction 3D printing companies in the market now, and majority of them have signed deals, raised funding, and announced development partnerships. Despite the high momentum, there is little fundamental technology development news. This recent announcement from Mighty Buildings is similar: The company has raised funding for technology development and market expansion, and it plans to build multistory houses in the near term. We expect to see Mighty Buildings (and others in the field) realize small 3D-printed projects, but it won't be disruptive until it develops a system that simplifies material production and delivery for larger-scale construction projects."

3D printing company Inkbit raises $30 million Series B

Akshay Chaudhari, Ph.D., AnalystAkshay Chaudhari, Ph.D., Analyst
Lux Take: Average Importance

"This project was a collaboration between the Polish and Japanese governments and was operational since 2020. Other partners involved in the project included Hitachi, Showa Denko Materials, and various energy utilities based in Poland. Ultimately, the project focused on a 24 MW wind energy farm located in northern Poland and evaluated optimal methods to integrate variable wind power into the grid, including installing energy storage and developing protocols to ensure that transmission lines are not overloaded and remain resilient in the event of accidents affecting the grid. This project signals growing interest in renewable power integration, which will become increasingly relevant as more economies subscribe to carbon neutrality." 

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