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Lux Take on News: Weekly Round-Up May 14, 2021

Lux Research
May 15, 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 second week of May.

Toyota Motors launches materials informatics service

Anthony Schiavo, Research Director

Anthony Schiavo, Research Director | @MobbDeepTech Ico twitter
Lux Take: Truly Disruptive

"We've known about Toyota's activities in materials informatics (MI) for some time, but this is probably the first major company to plan to sell MI services outright. This is a substantial step past even leaders like Evonik that are using MI tools to complement existing sales or businesses. By the same token, it's clear that Toyota is still trying to figure out the right business model (it apparently plans to work on a project basis), so expect more announcements and services in the future as the company continues to refine its approach."

Ginkgo Bioworks to go public via $17.5 billion SPAC deal

Kristin Marshall, Analyst at Lux Research

hariniKristin Marshall, Analyst | @KMarsh4Bio Ico twitter
Harini Venkataraman, Ph.D., Analyst
Lux Take: Very Important

"Backed by Harry Sloan and Jeff Sagansky, this merger with Soaring Eagle Acquisition will give Ginkgo a pre-money equity valuation of $15 billion, with an additional $2.5 billion for the combined entity – one of the biggest SPAC deals in recent times. This news comes on the heels of Zymergen's IPO announcement, through which it raised $500 million. While the two have significantly evolved over the years, in Ginkgo's case, the company has further diversified through different spinouts targeting ag biologicals, alternative protein ingredients, and bioremediation. Those interested should note that Ginkgo is playing a numbers game – it does not depend on any one project to succeed. Additional funding will only expand its reach and disruption potential."

Lux Research - Newsletter Research

Oatly's planned IPO signals market traction with plant proteins and will speed up market consolidation

Jerrold WangJerrold Wang, Analyst
Lux Take: Very Important


"With a proprietary enzymatic technology to turn oats into nutritious liquid products, Oatly generated $421 million in revenue for 2020 (a 107% growth from 2019) and distributes products from more than 100,000 stores and coffee shops worldwide. This IPO resonates with the market traction of plant proteins, building from previous IPOs like Beyond Meat's and upcoming ones like Chobani's The IPOs will help these players quickly expand and accelerate market consolidation in segments like plant-based meat and dairy. Emerging startups will have a difficult time competing and must demonstrate higher performance; however, those with access to feedstock may look to emerging innovators to enable market penetration outside the rising leaders."

Smart ring maker Oura raises $100 million in Series C investment round, and clients should consider it a strong acquisition target

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

"The $100 million investment will be spread across the organization and will be used to help develop new features. This funding round is important not for the money but because as Oura matures, it is an increasing rarity in terms of wearables with an accompanying actional base of research that is independent of a major tech player. Fitbit, which had long been the leader of the space, was snapped up by Google. Apple, Huawei, and Amazon all have their own wearable offerings but can be challenging to partner with either because of their size or because of the tithe they require. Clients looking to partner with or acquire an independent wearable should move fast, as there are very few left at this degree of maturity."

Hackers use IT weak spot to disrupt OT in Colonial Pipeline ransomware attack

Michael SullivanMichael Sullivan, Analyst
Lux Take: Very Important


"The shutdown of Colonial Pipeline's 5,500-mile system between Houston and New Jersey signifies that hackers have found one of the industry's cybersecurity weak spots. The attack, in which the DarkSide organization reportedly stole 100 GB of data and held it for ransom, leveraged the vulnerable flat IT infrastructure that controls the pipeline. Pipelines operate with IT systems that concentrate control in a single point of failure spanning thousands of miles. They lack the layered security maintained for other segmented oil and gas and utility IT systems. The attack is also a cautionary tale for clients, putting them on notice that hackers will attack IT to cause OT disruption. Hackers are also directly targeting vulnerable OT systems."

Sherlock Biosciences' licensing activity hints at rising interest in CRISPR-enabled biosensor technologies

Lisheng GaoLisheng Gao, Ph.D., Analyst
Lux Take: Very Important


"Sherlock Biosciences licensed its CRISPR-based diagnostic technology to Logiclnk, a wearable biosensor developer, to develop consumer-level rapid COVID-19 diagnostic tools. Sherlock Biosciences' technology uses CRISPR technology to detect viral RNA using a predesigned enzyme. It leverages the collateral cleavage to enable detection of fluorescent reactions. Logiclnk takes the technology one step further, making the sensors into wearable patches. Lux has observed startups' interest in leveraging CRISPR technologies for biosensor applications. Those interested should evaluate Logiclnk's development progress and the feasibility of using the technologies for commercial fast point-of-use sensing applications."

SCG acquires 70% stake in Portuguese polyolefin recycler

Anthony Schiavo, Research Director

Anthony Schiavo, Research Director | @MobbDeepTech Ico twitter
Lux Take: Very Important

"This move helps SCG access markets for its ambition of selling 200,000 tons of recycled or bio-based materials by 2025. The recycler already has a capacity of 36,000 tons per year, nearly 20% of SCG's goal. Moreover, it's a sign that chemical companies will need to directly integrate mechanical recycling into their business if they want to grow."

The Chemical and Materials Company of 2040

Remedy Health, maker of Nourished 3D-printed personalized vitamin gummies, raises $11 million Series A

10085-thumb-squareThomas Hayes, Analyst
Lux Take: Very Important


"ADM Ventures and Cibus Fund co-led the round, which brings Remedy Health's total funding to $14.3 million, with a reported valuation of $71.6 million. The company's revenue has also reportedly grown by 600% over the past year. It intends to use this funding for expansion into children's nutrition and protein bars, as well as extend its reach from the U.K. into the U.S. ADM and Remedy Health will be working closely on protein bar development, with ADM bringing protein ingredients and expertise into the partnership. This is yet another example of how personalized nutrition can unlock new sales channels for agrifood companies."

U.S. Department of Energy launches $15.5 million initiative to promote solar deployments in low- and moderate-income communities

Seoane da Silva, PatriciaPatricia Seoane da Silva, Senior Research Associate
Lux Take: Average Importance


"The U.S. DOE invested $10 million in the SolSmart program and $5.5 million in the Solar Energy Innovation Network (SEIN) program. The former aims to reduce the overall cost of photovoltaic (PV) systems, particularly soft costs (e.g., permitting, financing, installation), which can account for as much as 60% of the cost of a PV system in the U.S. On the other hand, the SEIN program aims to connect various stakeholders across the power grid and promote initiatives like community solar systems. This initiative is in line with the Biden administration's ambition to reach 100% clean electricity by 2035, but clients should regard the widespread growth of renewables as just one piece of the decarbonization puzzle faced by the U.S."

Boston Dynamics' less glamorous warehouse robot has practical use case but will face stiff competition

Miraj

Miraj Mainali, Senior Research Associate
Lux Take: Average Importance


"
After launching Spot in 2020, Boston Dynamics has unveiled its second commercial robot, Stretch, which has a specific use case – automation of warehouse and distribution centers. On the hardware side, Stretch consists of an omnidirectional mobile base, robotic arm, and a smart gripper, which allows it to maneuver in tight spaces and handle a large variety of boxed as well as shrink-wrapped cases. On the software side, it includes Boston Dynamics' computer vision technology that enables it to identify boxes. Unlike legged Spot's uncharted territory, warehouse robotics is a competitive space. Further development in areas like training platforms and integration with logistics systems is necessary before the robot hits shelves in 2022."

BMW to release fuel cell-powered X5 in 2022, but don't expect to be able to buy one

Christopher Robinson

Christopher Robinson, Research Director
Lux Take: Low Importance


"BMW has not disclosed exact production volumes, but similar to BMW's hydrogen-powered 7 Series a decade ago, the fuel cell-powered X5 SUVs will likely not be made available to customers. This pilot program was already announced as part of BMW's partnership with Toyota, and BMW has stated it won't sell fuel cell vehicles until the late 2020s. Companies should not interpret this announcement as an indication that timelines for fuel cells are accelerating and should expect other automakers to also focus on pilot programs before launching mass production vehicles.
"

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