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Lux Take on News: Weekly Round-Up September 3, 2021

Lux Research
September 3, 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. 

LCY Biosciences putting BioAmber's assets to use in Sarnia and planning to ramp up operations

Kristin Marshall, Analyst, Lux Research

Kristin Marshall, Analyst
Lux Take: Very Important


"This announcement is the first piece of positive news for the succinic acid space in years. In late 2018, LCY acquired the Sarnia plant and said it would continue BioAmber's legacy and produce succinic acid, at least in the short run. Today, the company is producing 18,000 metric tons of succinic acid (10,000 tons more than BioAmber was producing when it closed its doors) and plans to ramp up production, citing an uptick in demand for succinic acid and PBS (mostly abroad). This development is notable, as others in the space have struggled, largely due to a lack of market development. While the jury is still out on LCY, companies should closely monitor how international policy is changing the market potential for such alternatives."

Spain investing $8 billion to make its buildings more energy-efficient

Michael Sullivan, Analyst, Lux Research

Michael Sullivan, Analyst
Lux Take: Very Important


"As part of an $80 billion recovery plan from an EU grant, the investment will enable better insulation, photovoltaic panels, and heat pumps for homes while also renovating government buildings and constructing new government-funded housing. The investment will reactivate Spain's COVID-19 economy, help achieve EU 2030 energy efficiency goals, and help Spain catch up to other European countries. According to the International Energy Agency, Spain has one of the lowest shares of energy-efficient buildings. The initiative follows a shift to growth in Spain's PV market after the elimination of the Sun Tax. Energy companies that can address the Spanish market should take advantage of the investment by engaging with government agencies."

Verily and Mayo Clinic team up to build clinical decision support tool that addresses cardiometabolic conditions

Nardev Ramanathan, Ph.D., Senior Analyst, Lux Research

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


"While collaborations between tech companies and healthcare institutions are not new, this deserves attention due to two reasons. Unlike the failure of IBM Watson, this collaboration is tackling a smaller, more defined use case around cardiometabolic conditions. Second, this announcement comes on the heels of Google's dissolution of its health unit, proving that it has not given up on its healthcare interests but rather is decentralizing its focus across its myriad subsidiaries, such as Verily. Companies skeptical about a tech-focused partnership with a healthcare organization after the fiasco with IBM Watson should follow this development closely and look for smaller wins with defined problem statements in approaching similar partnerships."

Danone forms deeper partnership with Brightseed to further investigate health-promoting plant ingredients

Jerrold Wang, Analyst, Lux Research

Jerrold Wang, MBA, Analyst
Lux Take: Very Important


"Compared with the 2020 collaboration between Brightseed and Danone North America, this partnership covers the global market and has a more aggressive and broader target in driving wellness and sustainability. The partnership not only shows Danone's recognition of Brightseed's effectiveness in an AI-driven platform for functional ingredient discovery but also resonates with Lux's report "The Food Company of 2050," which mentions developing food for health and increased sustainability as driving themes in the food sector. Key players should collaborate with Brightseed, preferably starting with identification of health benefits in existing plant sources and then expanding to identify plant sources that offer solutions to emerging health demands."

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XpertSea raises $20 million Series B to support transparency within aquaculture supply chain

Laura Krishfield, Research Associate, Lux Research

Laura Krishfield, Research Associate
Lux Take: Average Importance


"Led by QED Investors and Atlantico along with Investissement Québec, the round was joined by Obvious Ventures, Aqua-Spark, Tony Fadell’s Future Shape, Real Ventures, and Edō Capital and brings XpertSea's total funding to $29.2 million. XpertSea develops a smartphone app that enables shrimp farmers to manage farm data and connect to a digital marketplace. The company will use the funds to expand to the Southeast Asian market, strengthen its financing services, and develop new products. Transparency is growing as a priority in the aquaculture supply chain to ensure species quality and improve resource use efficiency. Key players should engage with companies that provide cost-effective monitoring solutions that facilitate financial transactions."

Sumitomo Chemical to build pilot facility for high-quality recycled acrylic resin

Marcian Lee, Ph.D., Research Analyst, Lux Research

Marcian Lee, Ph.D., Research Analyst
Lux Take: Average Importance


"The Japanese giant is among the first to chemically recycle post-use acrylic resin (PMMA) without sacrificing optical clarity – a common pain point in current lead-based processes. Sumitomo Chemical's announcement, made shortly after a similar one from Mitsubishi Chemical, indicates the increasing maturity of alternative recycling techniques for high-quality PMMA recyclate. With samples from the facility expected to be available in about two years, companies using PMMA in applications where optical clarity is paramount should monitor for developments and opportunities to collaborate."

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Shell Energy becomes electricity and gas supplier for residential market in Netherlands

Jessica Hernandez, Analyst, Lux Research

Jessica Hernandez, Analyst
Lux Take: Average Importance


"Shell received regulatory approval from the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) to become an energy supplier for Dutch homes. Shell Energy will provide 100% renewable electricity from wind and solar parks in the Netherlands as well as CO2-compensated natural gas. The company probably plans to attract Dutch homes with a combination of extended home and mobility services. Following its acquisition of First Utility in 2018, Shell Energy became an energy supplier in the U.K. in 2019. It is likely the O&G giant was planning on using the same strategy in the Netherlands when it placed a bid to acquire Dutch utility Eneco. However, Mitsubishi outbid Shell and acquired Eneco in late 2019, forcing Shell to shift strategies."

Corteva launches farmer-friendly pest and disease identification app

Tim Appachanda, Ph.D., Senior Analyst, Lux Research

Tim Appachanda, Ph.D., Senior Analyst
Lux Take: Average Importance


"Corteva has launched a new mobile app, Corteva FarmFundi, that provides digital identification guides for farmers across Africa and the Middle East. It helps farmers upload or scan pictures, share threats accurately, and seek expert opinions online. Meanwhile, experts can share new, emerging pest trends. Invasive species and crop pests cause crop losses to the tune of several billion dollars in Africa. Companies should watch for innovative applications that provide real-time remote sensing data on soil nutrient status and crop stress to enable decision-making for taking appropriate actions."

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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