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Lux Take on News: Weekly Round-Up July 9, 2021

Lux Research
July 9, 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. 

Evonik partners with Biesterfeld and digital sales platform provider CheMondis for its coating materials

Xiao Zhong Ph.D., Senior Analyst, Lux ResearchXiao Zhong, Ph.D., Senior Analyst
Lux Take: Very Important

"Evonik has made quite a few moves in its digital strategy. For example, the COATNIO platform enables a dynamic digital formulation experience for its customers and could potentially get useful feedback for Evonik's R&D. Another example is its recent investment in Chembid, a market intelligence company for chemical sales, which gives Evonik insights into where to sell. With the new partnership, Evonik is pushing one step further in building an end-to-end solution for its customers. While CheMondis is arguably the most successful digital marketplace startup and the easiest to work with (it is free), specialty chemical companies should think about how to build their own platform in the long term for their and other companies' products."

Funding momentum for cell-based meat continues as Aleph Farms raises $105 million Series B

Harini Venkataraman, Ph.D., Analyst, Lux Research

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

"L Catterton and DisruptAD, the venture capital arm of ADQ, led this Series B round, with participation from other corporate strategic investors like Thai Union Group, Cargill, and CJ CheilJedang, among others. Aleph Farms will use this funding to scale up cell-based beef steak production and to expand to other cell-based animal proteins beyond beef. Given the involvement of DisruptAD, the company is likely to set up a manufacturing facility in UAE in the long run. While this funding is much needed to meet Aleph Farms' ambitious plans of commercialization by 2022, the regulatory pathway in its target markets is still evolving. Given the current scale-up momentum, companies should expect to see more developments on the global regulatory front."

Tesla shares more details on its vision-only approach to autonomy

Cole McCollum, Analyst, Lux ResearchCole McCollum, Analyst
Lux Take: Very Important

"In a recent talk, Tesla's Director of AI, Andrej Karpathy, shared some new details on the company's approach to autonomy. One key theme of the talk was Tesla moving away from using radar in its sensor stack, choosing to rely solely on camera-based computer vision for depth estimation due to claimed challenges around sensor fusion. To support this approach, Tesla also built a pipeline for semiautomatically labeling vast amounts of data as well as a supercomputer consisting of 5,760 GPUs for training neural networks. While Tesla continues to double down on its vision-only, fully integrated approach to autonomy, companies should remain wary of the near-term reliability of a vision-only system that lacks lidar or radar as a backup option."

Lux Research - Materials - Newsletter

Fulcrum BioEnergy completes construction of Sierra plant; all hope for FT SAF hinges on successful ramp-up over next 18 months

Yuan=Sheng Yu, Managing Consultant, Lux Research

Yuan-Sheng Yu, Managing Consultant, Energy
Lux Take: Very Important

"The 10 MGY Sierra plant will be critical not only for Fulcrum but for the overall outlook of Fischer-Tropsch (FT)-derived sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). On paper, Fulcrum has assembled a stellar group of partners covering the entire value chain, but all eyes will be on the facility's scale-up, set to start in Q4 2021. Future projects for Fulcrum will hinge on the success of the Sierra plant, with a second 33 MGY facility planned in Indiana and a third 25 MGY facility in the U.K. With HEFA the current dominant form of SAF, FT has the potential to unlock additional feedstock supply by tapping into both municipal solid waste (MSW) and biomass as the industry looks to scale production volumes to match the growing demand for aviation fuels."

Turkey's ban on plastic waste imports comes into effect

Anthony Schiavo, Research Director, Lux Research

Anthony Schiavo, Research Director
Lux Take: Very Important

"Turkey had emerged as a major destination for waste imports after broader bans and restrictions, but growing activist and consumer pressure led to a crackdown on importation. This was one of the very few destinations still taking waste from Europe, and the ban will force the development of more national recycling infrastructure. Companies should recognize that the issue of waste accumulation will get worse, but waste streams for recycling still might not be available."

Materialise develops SLS 3D printing services with its PA12 powder that can be up to 100% reusable

Tugce Uslu, PDEng, Analyst, Lux Research

Tugce Uslu, PDEng, Analyst
Lux Take: Average Importance

"Materialise announced its selective laser sintering (SLS) process called Bluesint, which significantly reduces powder waste, last year. Now, it is offering 3D printing services based on this new process for functional prototyping. Although applications are limited with a single material (PA12), it is an important step toward no waste – and hence more environment-friendly 3D printing processes. Going forward, companies should consider engaging in developing new materials for this or other similar processes that help reduce material waste."

Agrifood Newsletter

Small peptides see Investment with $10 million Series A for Micropep Technologies

Joshua Haslun, Ph.D., Research Director, Lux Research

Joshua Haslun, Ph.D., Research Director
Lux Take: Average Importance

"FMC Ventures and IRDI Capital Investissement participated, and each will add members to Micropep's board. Rather than directly impacting diseases or pests, Micropep's solution, microRNA-encoded peptides (miPEPs), regulates miRNA expression, which can then alter a range of responses, allowing Micropep to target weed control, disease control, and plant biostimulation as long as the process is modulated by miRNAs. Solutions are likely to take on a generalist control strategy due to the conserved nature of miRNAs among species. Expect effective pre- and post-emergent control measures or broad-range synthetic control alternatives. Companies should expect FMC to monitor the development closely, but the science supports this flexible mode of action."

Meati Foods raises $50 million for large-scale production of mycelium-derived alternative proteins

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

"This Series B round was led by Acre Venture Partners and BOND, bringing the company's total funding raised to $127 million. Meati Foods will use the funds to increase its headcount and complete the construction of its 80,000 ft2 production facility by 2022. The estimated capacity of the facility is in the millions of pounds of whole-cut meat analog products. Compared to competitors, Meati's submerged mycelia fermentation process enables an 18-hour batch process with minimal downstream processing steps. As the demand for mycoproteins in the U.S. heats up, expect to see other players like Quorn, Atlast, and Nature's Fynd scale up production and expand their product portfolios targeting the broader meat alternative segment."

Therapeutic efficacy using gene therapy for Huntington's disease can be tracked using digital biomarker

Nardev Ramanathan, Ph.D., Senior Analyst, Lux Research Nardev Ramanathan, Ph.D., Senior Analyst
Lux Take: Average Importance

"Huntington's disease (HD) is a slow and fatal neurodegenerative disease with no cure in sight. HD is caused by a mutation in the Huntingtin gene. This also makes it the perfect candidate to address with gene therapy. However, an unsolved challenge was how to measure therapeutic efficacy before the presentation of symptoms, by which time, it is already too late to treat. Here, the researchers developed a noninvasive way to track efficacy, called inflow-based vascular-space-occupancy (iVASO) MRI. Companies, while this is an early-stage study in mice, and more data will be needed in human studies, the digital biomarker opportunity goes beyond consumer health to tracking clinical efficacy in pre-symptomatic stages of potentially fatal diseases."

Did you miss last week's news round-up? Check out the blog here. Make sure you never miss a headline by subscribing to our newsletter.

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