August 2015

Science & Technology

  • The US FDA granted approval to 3D printed medication, which promises to enable more personalised and precise doses to be delivered to patients.
  • Researchers at John Hopkins University have developed an algorithm that enables earlier and more accurate identification of patients at risk of septic shock, a condition that causes around 200,000 deaths per year in the US alone. More.
  • Researchers at Penn State have developed software capable of critiquing photograph composition. The software works by conducting a statistical comparison of pixel distribution with photographs known to have highly aesthetic qualities. More.
  • Researchers at MIT are developing a method to ‘programme’ gut bacteria to detect and respond to early signs of diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease or colon cancer. More.
  • Researchers at Caltech are developing a test for colorectal cancer that could enable easier and earlier detection or the disease relative to existing techniques. The disease is responsible for an estimated 700,000 deaths annually. More.
  • Boeing has developed an anti-drone high intensity laser system capable of disabling aircraft within 15 seconds. More.
  • Researchers at Purdue University are developing an ‘augmented-reality telementoring’ system that could be used to deliver assistance to surgeons operating within remote locations. More.
  • A team of researchers led by the University of Sheffield is developing a technique that utilises MRI scanners to enable non-invasive and targeted delivery of cancer drugs to tumour cells. More.
  • Scientists from the University of Edinburgh have developed ice creams that melt more slowly. More.
  • An affordable, 3D-printed robotic prosthetic hand developed by Open Bionics won the UK James Dyson engineering award. More.
  • Intel launched Collaborative Cancer Cloud, a project designed to enable development of personalised cancer treatment programmes within one day by 2020. More.
  • Researchers at Cambridge University are developing a brain-training game designed to improve memory and learning among sufferers of schizophrenia. This could help to reintegrate patients into work or study following diagnosis. More.
  • Researchers at Imperial College London have developed a new technique that utilises lasers to capture detailed 3D images of bones. The development could lead to earlier diagnosis of diseases such as osteoporosis while avoiding the need for biopsies. More.
  • Researchers at Sheffield University are developing a technique that utilises ultrasonic waves to determine the stress levels affecting wind turbine components. It is hoped that this will help to reduce maintenance costs through predicting failure more accurately.
  • Chemists at Penn State have developed PetroGel, a plastic that floats on (but does not absorb) water and is capable of absorbing 40 times its own volume in crude oil within 24 hours. The material is designed to capture spilled oil for reuse. More.
  • Researchers at MIT have developed a novel electrochemical process to capture carbon dioxide and then use it to produce nano-scale carbon fibres with applications in the transportation sector. More.
  • Google launched (in beta) ‘Project Sunroof’, an online tool designed to help homeowners calculate the solar energy potential of their roof space.
  • A team of researchers led by Penn State has successfully trialled a food supplement that can reduce methane emissions from dairy cows by 30% while increasing weight gain. Globally, animal agriculture contributes around 44% of methane emissions from human activities. More.
  • Researchers at MIT have proposed a new design for a compact fusion reactor that could potentially be developed within the next ten years. Nuclear fusion offers the promise of providing a virtually inexhaustible energy supply, but attempts to harness the process have thus far proven to be extremely challenging.
  • UK-based Blade Dynamics began testing of a new modular turbine blade design, which is configured to simplify manufacture and transportation.

Business

New Sources of Funding

  • National Australia Bank launched a $50m fintech-focused fund, which will be deployed globally over a three year period.
  • Internet-focused venture/growth firm DST Global raised a $1.7bn fund. More.
  • UK-based Apis Partners raised a $157m fund that will target growth-stage financial services business in Africa and Asia.
  • US-based Owl Ventures closed a $100m fund that will focus on EdTEch companies.
  • US-based healthcare-focused venture firm Hatteras Venture Partners, which specialises in investing in technology emerging from research institutions, held the first close of a new fund at $90m.
  • Europe-focused Lakestar Ventures raised a €350m fund.
  • Canada-based McRock Capital raised a $65m fund to invest in companies operating within the industrial internet-of-things sector. More.

New products

  • US-based TriggerHood is developing solutions that help apps deliver notifications to users at appropriate times.
  • Crowdmics is a ‘downloadable microphone’ for use at conferences. More.
  • jEugene is a tool that automatically identifies potential errors within legal documents
  • Meep provides an app through which users can listen to news articles that are of interest to them.
  • Makerbase is a database for digital projects.
  • HandUp is a San Francisco-based project designed to enable people to help the homeless through gift cards that cannot be exchanged for cash. More.
  • Facebook launched M, a digital assistant that is reportedly the first designed to complete tasks on behalf of users. More.
  • Wellpath provides customised supplement programmes, based on analysis of user-submitted information and data from third party providers. More.
  • Migraine Buddy is an app designed to predict migraines. Utilising data on external environment and patient, predication can reportedly be made with 90% accuracy. More.
  • Tetrascience develops tools that enable researchers to remotely monitor and control scientific instruments in an effort to save time. More.
  • Google launched OnHub, a smart router designed to improve quality and security of domestic wireless networks.

New company Fundraising

  • Prodigy Finance, a crowdfunding platform designed to help students from Asia and Africa attend MBA programmes in Europe and the US, raised £100m from investors including Balderton Capital.
  • This, which develops a link-sharing platform through which users are restricted to one share per day in an effort to reduce content noise, raised $600k from angel investors. More.
  • US-based ReShape Medical, which is developing non-surgical weight loss devices, raised $38m from investors . More.
  • US-based Avegant, which is developing near-eye micro-mirror display technologies for personal products, raised $24m from investors including Intel Capital.
  • Online education platform Coursera raised $50m from investors including NEW, KPCB and IFC. The funding will be used to expand into emerging markets including Latin America.
  • Chinese drone maker Yuneec raised more than $60m from investors including Intel Capital.
  • APi.ai, which develops tools that enable app developers to integrate intelligent voice command functions, raised $3m from investors including Intel Capital.
  • SkinVision, which develops a smartphone app that can track development of skin moles and alert users to early signs of skin cancer, raised $3.4m from investors. More.
  • US-based Cardbon3D, which develops advanced 3D printing technologies, raised $100m from investors including Google Ventures and Sequoia.
  • US-based ZocDoc, which provides a platform through which patients connect with healthcare providers, raised $130m from investors including Founders Fund and Atomico.
  • Gene-editing company Editas Medicine raised $120m from investors including Bill Gates
  • US-based Massdrop, which allows users to build communities around interests, raised $40m from investors including August Capital and First Round Capital.
  • AgBiome, a US-based agricultural research company developing engineered crop technologies designed for use by base-of-pyramid farmers within emerging markets, raised $34.5m from a syndicate including the Gates Foundation, ARCH Ventures, Monsanto and Syngenta Ventures.
  • Storedot, an Israel-based developer of ultra-fast charging bio-organic batteries, raised $18m from Samsung Ventures.
  • View, a US-based developer of smart windows that tint automatically/as a result of mobile app in response to external conditions to minimise heat and glare, raised $150m from investors. 
  • US-based FluGen raised $12m to develop a universal influenza vaccine.
  • Wiselike, which operates a knowledge-sharing platform through which users can establish personal Q&A pages, raised $1.25m form investors including GGV Capital and 500 Startups.
  • US-based Fluxx, which develops SAAS solutions designed to facilitate the management of philanthropic organisation, with a particular focus on providing visibility on the use and impact of funds to stakeholders, raised $10m from investors including Felicis Ventures.
  • OneSignal, which develops tools that enable app developers to deliver personalised push notifications to users, raised $2m from investors including Y Combinator and Rakuten Ventures.
  • US-based Atomwise, which is developing drug research technology built on artificial intelligence that predicts the effectiveness of new treatments without the need for physical development and testing, raised $6m from investors including DFJ, Khosla Ventures and OS Fund. More.

Other

  • Figures released by the UK’s Office for National Statistics revealed that life expectancy has increased by around 3 years per decade over the past 100 years.
  • Adopting a lateral sleep position (i.e. not sleeping on one’s back) may facilitate removal of waste chemicals from the brain and reduce the chances of developing neurological conditions such as Alzheimer’s, according to researchers at the University of Rochester. More.
  • Research conducted at the Royal London Hospital suggests that playing classical music during an operation can reduce the need for subsequent patient pain relief. More.