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Tverberg: Why No Politician Is Willing To Tell Us The Real Energy Story

Tverberg: Why No Politician Is Willing To Tell Us The Real Energy Story

Authored by Gail Tverberg via Our Finite World blog,

No politician…

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Tverberg: Why No Politician Is Willing To Tell Us The Real Energy Story

Authored by Gail Tverberg via Our Finite World blog,

No politician wants to tell us the real story of fossil fuel depletion. The real story is that we are already running short of oil, coal and natural gas because the direct and indirect costs of extraction are reaching a point where the selling price of food and other basic necessities needs to be unacceptably high to make the overall economic system work. At the same time, wind and solar and other “clean energy” sources are nowhere nearly able to substitute for the quantity of fossil fuels being lost.

This unfortunate energy story is essentially a physics problem. Energy per capita and, in fact, resources per capita, must stay high enough for an economy’s growing population. When this does not happen, history shows that civilizations tend to collapse.

Figure 1. World fossil fuel energy consumption per capita, based on data of BP’s 2022 Statistical Review of World Energy.

Politicians cannot possibly admit that today’s world economy is headed for collapse, in a way similar to that of prior civilizations. Instead, they need to provide the illusion that they are in charge. The self-organizing system somehow leads politicians to put forward reasons why the changes ahead might be desirable (to avert climate change), or at least temporary (because of sanctions against Russia).

In this post, I will try to try to explain at least a few of the issues involved.

[1] Citizens around the world can sense that something is very wrong. It looks like the economy may be headed for a serious recession in the near term.

Figure 2. Index of consumer sentiment and news heard of company changes as reported by the University of Michigan Survey of Consumers, based on preliminary indications for August 2022.

Consumer sentiment is at an extraordinarily low level, worse than during the 2008-2009 great recession according to a chart (Figure 2) shown on the University of Michigan Survey of Consumers website. According to the same website, nearly 48% of consumers blame inflation for eroding their standard of living. Food prices have risen significantly. Over the past year, the cost of car ownership has escalated, as has the cost of buying or renting a home.

The situation in Europe is at least as bad, or worse. Citizens are worried about possibly “freezing in the dark” this winter if electricity generation cannot be maintained at an adequate level. Natural gas supplies, mostly purchased from Russia by pipeline, are less available and high-priced. Coal is also high-priced. Because of the fall of the Euro relative to the US dollar, the price of oil in euros is as high as it was in 2008 and 2012.

Figure 3. Inflation-adjusted Brent crude oil price in US dollars and euros, in chart by the US Energy Information Administration, as published in EIA’s August 2022 Short Term Energy Outlook.

Many other countries, besides those in the Eurozone, are experiencing low currencies relative to the dollar. Some examples include Argentina, India, Pakistan, Nigeria, Turkey, Japan, and South Korea.

China has problems with developers of condominium homes for its citizen. Many of these homes cannot be delivered to purchasers as promised. As a protest, buyers are withholding payments on their unfinished homes. To make matters worse, the prices of condominium homes have started to fall, leading to a loss of value of these would-be investments. All of this could lead to serious problems for the Chinese banking industry.

Even with these major problems, central banks in the US, the UK and the Eurozone are raising target interest rates. The US is also implementing Quantitative Tightening, which also tends to raise interest rates. Thus, central banks are intentionally raising the cost of borrowing. It doesn’t take much insight to see that the combination of price inflation and higher borrowing costs is likely to force consumers to cut back on spending, leading to recession.

[2] Politicians will avoid talking about possible future economic problems related to inadequate energy supply.

Politicians want to get re-elected. They want citizens to think that everything is OK. If there are energy supply problems, they need to be framed as being temporary, perhaps related to the war in Ukraine. Alternatively, any issue that arises will be discussed as if it can easily be fixed with new legislation and perhaps a little more debt.

Businesses also want to minimize problems. They want citizens to place orders for their goods and services, without the fear of being laid off. They would like the news media to publish stories saying that any economic dip is likely to be very mild and temporary.

Universities don’t mind problems, but they want the problems to be framed as solvable ones that will offer their students opportunities for jobs that will pay well. A near-term, unsolvable predicament is not helpful at all.

[3] What is wrong is a physics problem. The operation of our economy requires energy of the correct type and the right quantity.

The economy is something that grows through the “dissipation” of energy. Examples of dissipation of energy include the digestion of food to give energy to humans, the burning of fossil fuels, and the use of electricity to power a light bulb. A rise in world energy consumption is highly correlated with growth in the world economy. Falling energy consumption is associated with economic contraction.

Figure 4. Correlation between world GDP measured in “Purchasing Power Parity” (PPP) 2017 International $ and world energy consumption, including both fossil fuels and renewables. GDP is as reported by the World Bank for 1990 through 2021 as of July 26, 2022; total energy consumption is as reported by BP in its 2022 Statistical Review of World Energy.

In physics terms, the world economy is a dissipative structure, just as all plants, animals and ecosystems are. All dissipative structures have finite lifespans, including the world economy.

This finding is not well known because academic researchers seem to operate in ivory towers. Researchers in economic departments aren’t expected to understand physics and how it applies to the economy. In fairness to academia, the discovery that the economy is a dissipative structure did not occur until 1996. It takes a long time for findings to filter through from one department to another. Even now, I am one of a very small number of people in the world writing about this issue.

Also, economic researchers are not expected to study the history of the many smaller, more-localized civilizations that have collapsed in the past. Typically, the population of these smaller civilizations increased at the same time as the resources used by the population started to degrade. The use of technology, such as dams to redirect water flows, may have helped for a while, but eventually this was not enough. The combination of declining availability of high quality resources and increasing population tended to leave these civilizations with little margin for dealing with the bad times that can be expected to occur by chance. In many cases, such civilizations collapsed after disease epidemics, a military invasion, or a climate fluctuation that led to a series of crop failures.

[4] Many people have been confused by common misunderstandings regarding how an economy really works.

[a] Standard economics models foster the belief that the economy can continue to grow without a corresponding increase in energy supply.

When economic models are designed with labor and capital being the important inputs, energy supply doesn’t seem to be needed, at all.

[b] People seem to understand that legislation capping apartment rents will stop the building of new apartments, but they do not make the same connection with steps taken to hold down fossil fuel prices.

If efforts are made to bring down the prices of fossil fuels (such as raising interest rates and adding oil from the US petroleum reserves to increase total oil supply), we need to expect that extraction will be adversely affected. One article reports that Saudi Arabia does not seem to be using recent record profits to quickly raise reinvestment to the level that seemed to be required a few years ago. This suggests that Saudi Arabia needs prices that are quite a bit higher than $100 per barrel in order to take significant steps toward extracting the country’s remaining resources. This would seem to contradict published reserves that, in theory, take current prices into consideration.

Reuters reports that Venezuela has reneged on its promise to send more oil to Europe, under an oil for debt deal. It wants oil product swaps instead, since it is lacking in its ability to make finished products from its oil itself. It would take a long run of prices much higher than today’s level for Venezuela to be able to sufficiently invest in infrastructure to do such refining. Venezuela reports the highest oil reserves in the world (303.8 thousand million barrels), even higher than Saudi Arabia’s reported 297.5 thousand million barrels, but neither country can be counted on to take major steps to raise supply.

Similarly, there have been reports that US shale drillers are not investing to keep production growing, despite what seem to be sufficiently high prices. There are simply too many issues. The cost of new investment is very high, outside of the already drilled sweet spots. Also, there is no guarantee the price will stay high. There are also supply line issues, such as whether appropriate steel drilling pipes and fracking sand will be available, when needed.

[c] Published information suggests that there is a huge amount of fossil fuels remaining to be extracted, given today’s level of technology. If we assume that technology will get better and better, it is easy to believe that any fossil fuel limit is hundreds of years in the future.

The way the economy works, the extraction limit is really an affordability issue. If the cost of extraction rises too high, relative to what people around the world have for spendable income, production will stop because demand (in terms of what people can afford) will drop too low. People will tend to cut back on discretionary spending, such as vacation travel and meals in restaurants, cutting back on demand for fossil fuels.

[d] How “demand” works is poorly understood. Very often, researchers and the general public assume that demand for energy products will automatically remain high.

A surprisingly large share of demand is tied to the need for food, water, and basic services such as schools, roads, and bus service. Poor people require these basics just as much as rich people do. There are literally billions of poor people in the world. If the wages of poor people fall too low relative to the wages of rich people, the system cannot work. Poor people find that they must spend nearly all their income on food, water and housing. As a result, they have little left to pay taxes to support basic governmental services. Without adequate demand from poor people, the prices of commodities tend to fall too low to encourage reinvestment.

The majority of fossil fuel use is by commercial and industrial users. For example, natural gas is often used in making nitrogen fertilizer. If the price of natural gas is high, the price of fertilizer will rise higher than farmers are willing to pay for the fertilizer. Farmers will cut back on fertilizer use, reducing yields for their crops. The farmers’ own costs will be lower, but there will be less of the desired crops grown, perhaps indirectly raising overall food prices. This is not a connection that economic modelers build into their models.

The lockdowns of 2020 show that governments can indeed ramp up demand (and thus prices) for energy products by sending out checks to citizens. We are now seeing that the approach seems to produce inflation rather than more energy production. Also, countries without energy resources of their own may see their currencies fall with respect to the US dollar.

[e] It is not true that energy types can easily be substituted for one another.

In energy modeling, such as in calculating “Energy Return on Energy Invested,” a popular assumption is that all energy is substitutable for other energy. This isn’t true, unless a person accounts for all of the details of the transition, and the energy needed to make such a transition possible.

For example, intermittent electricity, such as that generated by wind turbines or solar panels, is not substitutable for load-following electricity. Such intermittent electricity is not always available when people need it. Some of this intermittency is very long-term. For example, wind-generated electricity may be low for more than a month at a time. In the case of solar energy, the problem tends to be storing up enough electricity during summer months for use in winter. A naive person might assume that adding a few hours of battery backup would fix intermittency problems, but such a fix turns out to be very inadequate.

If people are not to freeze in the dark in winter, longer-term solutions are needed. One standard approach is to use a fossil fuel system to fill in the gaps when wind and solar are not available. The catch, then, is that the fossil fuel system really needs to be a year-around system, with trained staffing, pipelines and adequate fuel storage. A modeler needs to consider the need to build a whole double system instead of a single system.

Because of intermittency issues, electricity from wind and solar only substitute for fuels (coal, natural gas, uranium) that operate our current system. Publications often talk about the cost of intermittent electricity being at “grid parity” when its temporary cost seems to match the cost of grid electricity, but this is matching “apples and oranges.” The cost comparison needs to be in comparison to the average cost of fuel for plants producing electricity, rather than to electricity prices.

Another popular assumption is that electricity can be substituted for liquid fuels. For example, in theory, every piece of farm equipment could be redesigned and rebuilt to be based on electricity, rather than diesel, which is typically used today. The catch is that there would need to be an enormous number of batteries built and eventually disposed of for this transition to work. There would need also need to be factories to build all this new equipment. We would need an international trade system operating extraordinarily well, to find all the raw materials. Likely, there would still not be enough raw materials to make the system work.

[f] There is a great deal of confusion about expected oil and other energy prices, as an economy reaches energy limits.

This issue is closely related to [4][d], with respect to the confusion about how energy demand works. A common assumption among analysts is that “of course” oil prices will rise, as limits are approached. This assumption is based on the standard supply and demand curve used by economists.

Figure 5. Standard economic supply and demand curve from Wikipedia. Description of how this curve works: The price P of a product is determined by a balance between production at each price (supply S) and the desires of those with purchasing power at each price (demand D). The diagram shows a positive shift in demand from D1 to D2, resulting in an increase in price (P) and quantity sold (Q) of the product.

The issue is that the availability of inexpensive energy products very much affects demand as well as supply. Jobs that pay well are only available if inexpensive energy products can leverage human labor. For example, surgeons today perform robotic surgery, requiring, at a minimum, a stable source of electricity for each operation. Furthermore, the equipment used in the surgery is created using fossil fuels. Surgeons also use anesthetic products that require fossil fuels. Without today’s fancy equipment, surgeons would not be able to charge nearly as much they do for their services.

Thus, it is not immediately obvious whether demand or supply would tend to fall faster, if energy supply should hit limits. We know that Revelation 18:11-13 in the Bible provides a list of a number of commodities, including humans sold as slaves, for which prices dropped very low at the time of the collapse of ancient Babylon. This suggests that at least sometimes during prior collapses, the problem was too low demand (and too low prices), rather than too low supply of energy products.

[5] The International Energy Agency and politicians around the world have recommended a transition to the use of wind and solar to try to prevent climate change for quite a few years. This approach seemed to have the approval of both those concerned about too much burning of fossil fuels causing climate change and those concerned about too little fossil fuel energy causing economic collapse.

A rough estimate of what the decline in energy supply might look like under the rapid shift to renewables proposed by politicians is shown in Figure 6.

Figure 6. Estimate by Gail Tverberg of World Energy Consumption from 1820 to 2050. Amounts for earliest years based on estimates in Vaclav Smil’s book Energy Transitions: History, Requirements and Prospectsand BP’s 2020 Statistical Review of World Energy for the years 1965 to 2019. Energy consumption for 2020 is estimated to be 5% below that for 2019. Energy for years after 2020 is assumed to fall by 6.6% per year, so that the amount reaches a level similar to renewables only by 2050. Amounts shown include more use of local energy products (wood and animal dung) than BP includes.

If a person understands the connection between energy consumption and the economy, such a rapid drop in energy supply looks like something that would likely be associated with economic collapse. The goal of politicians seems to be to keep citizens from understanding how awful the situation really is by reframing the story of the decline in energy supply as something politicians and economists have chosen to do, to try to prevent climate change for the sake of future generations.

The rich and powerful can see this change as a good thing if they themselves can profit from it. When there is not enough energy, the physics of the situation tends to lead to increasing wage and wealth disparities. Wealthy individuals see this outcome as a good thing: They can perhaps personally profit. For example, Bill Gates has amassed about 270,000 acres of farmland in the United States, including newly purchased farmland in North Dakota.

Furthermore, politicians see that they can have more control over populations if they can direct citizens in a way that will use less energy. For example, bank accounts can be linked to some type of social credit score. Politicians will explain that this is for people’s own good–to prevent the spread of disease or to prevent undesirables from using too much of the available resources.

One way of dramatically reducing energy consumption is by mandating shutdowns in an area, purportedly to prevent the spread of Covid-19, as China has been doing recently. Such shutdowns can be explained as being needed to stop the spread of disease. These shutdowns can also help hide other problems, such as not having enough fuels to prevent rolling blackouts of electricity.

[6] We are living in a truly unusual time, with a major energy problem being hidden from view.

Politicians cannot tell the world how bad the energy situation really is. The problem with near-term energy limits has been known since at least 1956 (M. King Hubbert) and 1957 (Hyman Rickover). The problem was confirmed in the modeling performed for the 1972 book, The Limits to Growth by Donella Meadows and others.

Most high-level politicians are aware of the energy supply issue, but they cannot possibly talk about it. Instead, they choose to talk about what would happen if the economy were allowed to speed ahead without limits, and how bad the consequences of that might be.

Militaries around the world are no doubt well aware of the fact that there will not be enough energy supplies to go around. This means that the world will be in a contest for who gets how much. In a war-like setting, we should not be surprised if communications are carefully controlled. The views we can expect to hear loudly and repeatedly are the ones governments and influential individuals want ordinary citizens to hear.

Tyler Durden Wed, 08/24/2022 - 21:00

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EY Eyes Comeback for Biopharma M&A

EY noted that the total value of biopharma M&A in 2022 was $88 billion, down 15% from $104 billion in 2021. The $88 billion accounted for most of the…

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A recent trickle of mergers and acquisitions (M&A) announcements in the billion-dollar-and-up range suggests that biopharma may be ready to resume dealmaking this year—although the value and number of deals isn’t expected to return to the highs seen just before the pandemic.

2022 ended with a handful of 10- and 11-figure M&A deals, led by Amgen’s $27.8 billion buyout of Horizon Therapeutics, announced December 13. The dealmaking continued into January with three buyouts announced on the first day of the recent J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference: AstraZeneca agreed to acquire CinCor Pharma for up to $1.8 billion, while Chiesi Farmaceutici agreed to shell out up to $1.48 billion cash for Amryt, and Ipsen Group said it will purchase Albireo Pharma for $952 million-plus.

Biopharmas generated about $88 billion in M&A deals in 2022, down 15% from $104 billion in 2021. The $88 billion accounted for most of the $135 billion in 124 deals in the life sciences. The number of biopharma deals fell 17%, to 75 deals from 90. The other 49 deals totaling $47 million consisted of transactions in “medtech,” which includes diagnostics developers and companies specializing in “virtual health” such as telemedicine. [EY]
EY—the professional services firm originally known as Ernst & Young—recently noted that the total value of biopharma M&A in 2022 was $88 billion, down 15% from $104 billion in 2021 [See Chart]. The $88 billion accounted for most of the $135 billion in 124 deals in the life sciences. That $135 billion figure is less than half the record-high $313 billion recorded in 2019, including $261 billion in 70 biopharma deals.

The number of biopharma deals fell 17% to 75 deals from 90. EY’s numbers include only deals greater than $100 million. The other 49 deals totaling $47 million consisted of transactions in “medtech,” which includes diagnostics developers and companies specializing in “virtual health” such as telemedicine.

We expect this to be a more active year as the sentiment starts to normalize a little bit,” Subin Baral, EY Global Life Sciences Deals Leader, told GEN Edge.

Baral is not alone in foreseeing a comeback for biopharma M&A.

John Newman, PhD, an analyst with Canaccord Genuity, predicted last week in a research note that biopharma companies will pursue a growing number of smaller cash deals in the range of $1 billion to $10 billion this year. He said rising interest rates are discouraging companies from taking on larger blockbuster deals that require buyers to take on larger sums of debt.

“We look for narrowing credit spreads and lower interest rates to encourage larger M&A ($50 billion and more) deals. We do not anticipate many $50B+ deals that could move the XBI +5%,” Newman said. (XBI is the SPDR S&P Biotech Electronic Transfer Fund, one of several large ETFs whose fluctuations reflect investor enthusiasm for biopharma stock.)

Newman added: “We continue to expect a biotech swell in 2023 that may become an M&A wave if credit conditions improve.”

Foreseeing larger deals than Newman and Canaccord Genuity is PwC, which in a commentary this month predicted: “Biotech deals in the $5–15 billion range will be prevalent and will require a different set of strategies and market-leading capabilities across the M&A cycle.”

Those capabilities include leadership within a specific therapeutic category, for which companies will have to buy and sell assets: “Prepared management teams that divest businesses that are subscale while doubling down on areas where leadership position and the right to win is tangible, may be positioned to deliver superior returns,” Glenn Hunzinger, PwC’s U.S. Pharma & Life Science Leader, and colleagues asserted.

The Right deals

Rising interest and narrowing credit partially explain the drop-off in deals during 2022, EY’s Baral said. Another reason was sellers adjusting to the drop in deal valuations that resulted from the decline of the markets which started late in 2021.

Subin Baral, EY Global Life Sciences Deals Leader

“It took a little bit longer to realize the reality of the market conditions on the seller side. But on the buyer side, the deals that they were looking at were not just simply a valuation issue. They were looking at the quality of the assets. And you can see that the quality deals—the right deals, as we call them—are still getting done,” Baral said.

The right deals, according to Baral, are those in which buyers have found takeover targets with a strong, credible management team, solid clinical data, and a clear therapeutic focus.

“Rare disease and oncology assets are still dominating the deal making, particularly oncology because your addressable market continues to grow,” Baral said. “Unfortunately, what that means is the patient population is growing too, so there’s this increased unmet need for that portfolio of assets.”

Several of 2022’s largest M&A deals fit into that “right” category, Baral said—including Amgen-Horizon, Pfizer’s $11.6-billion purchase of Biohaven Pharmaceuticals and the $6.7-billion purchase of Arena Pharmaceuticals (completed in March 2022); and Bristol-Myers Squibb’s $4.1-billion buyout of Turning Point Therapeutics.

“Quality companies are still getting funded one way or the other. So, while the valuation dropped, people were all expecting a flurry of deals because they are still companies with a shorter runway of cash that will be running to do deals. But that really didn’t happen from a buyer perspective,” Baral said. “The market moved a little bit from what was a seller’s market for a long time, to what we would like to think of as the pendulum swinging towards a buyers’ market.”

Most biopharma M&A deals, he said, will be “bolt-on” acquisitions in which a buyer aims to fill a gap in its clinical pipeline or portfolio of marketed drugs through purchases that account for less than 25% of a buyer’s market capitalization.

Baral noted that a growing number of biopharma buyers are acquiring companies with which they have partnered for several years on drug discovery and/or development collaborations. Pfizer acquired BioHaven six months after agreeing to pay the company up to $1.24 billion to commercialize rimegepant outside the U.S., where the migraine drug is marketed as Nurtec® ODT.

“There were already some kind of relationships there before these deals actually happened. But that also gives an indication that there are some insights to these targets ahead of time for these companies to feel increasingly comfortable, and pay the valuation that they’re paying for them,” Baral said.

$1.4 Trillion available

Baral sees several reasons for increased M&A activity in 2023. First, the 25 biopharma giants analyzed by EY had $1.427 trillion available as of November 30, 2022, for M&A in “firepower”—which EY defines as a company’s capacity to carry out M&A deals based on the strength of its balance sheet, specifically the amount of capital available for M&A deals from sources that include cash and equivalents, existing debt, and market cap.

That firepower is up 11% from 2021, and surpasses the previous record of $1.22 trillion in 2014, the first year that EY measured the available M&A capital of large biopharmas.

Unlike recent years, Baral said, biopharma giants are more likely to deploy that capital on M&A this year to close the “growth gap” expected to occur over the next five years as numerous blockbuster drugs lose patent exclusivity and face new competition from lower-cost generic drugs and biosimilars.

“There is not enough R&D in their pipeline to replenish a lot of their revenue. And this growth gap is coming between 2024 and 2026. So, they don’t have a long runway to watch and stay on the sidelines,” Baral said.

This explains buyers’ interest in replenishing pipelines with new and innovative treatments from smaller biopharmas, he continued. Many smaller biopharmas are open to being acquired because declining valuations and limited cash runways have increased investor pressure on them to exit via M&A. The decline of the capital markets has touched off dramatic slowdowns in two avenues through which biopharmas have gone public in recent years—initial public offerings (IPOs) and special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs).

EY recorded just 17 IPOs being priced in the U.S. and Europe, down 89% from 158 a year earlier. The largest IPO of 2022 was Prime Medicine’s initial offering, which raised $180.3 million in net proceeds for the developer of a “search and replace” gene editing platform.

Another 12 biopharmas agreed to SPAC mergers with blank-check companies, according to EY, with the largest announced transaction (yet to close at deadline) being the planned $899 million merger of cancer drug developer Apollomics with Maxpro Capital Acquisition.

“For the smaller players, the target biotech companies, their alternate source of access to capital pathways such as IPOs and SPACs is shutting down on them. So how would the biotech companies continue to fund themselves? Those with quality assets are still getting funded through venture capital or other forms of capital,” Baral said. “But in general, there is not a lot of appetite for the biotech that is taking that risk.

Figures from EY show a 37% year-to-year decline in the total value of U.S. and European VC deals, to $16.88 billion in 2022 from $26.62 billion in 2021. Late-stage financing rounds accounted for just 31% of last year’s VC deals, down from 34% in 2021 and 58% in 2012. The number of VC deals in the U.S. and Europe fell 18%, to 761 last year from 930 in 2021.

The decline in VC financing helps explain why many smaller biopharmas are operating with cash “runways” of less than 12 months. “Depending on the robustness of their data, their therapeutic area, and their management, there will be a natural attrition. Some of these companies will just have to wind down,” Baral added.

M&A headwinds

Baral also acknowledged some headwinds that are likely to dampen the pace of M&A activity. In addition to rising interest rates and inflation increasing the cost of capital, valuations remain high for the most sought-after drugs, platforms, and other assets—a result of growing and continuing innovation.

Another headwind is growing regulatory scrutiny of the largest deals. Illumina’s $8 billion purchase of cancer blood test developer Grail has faced more than two years of challenges from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and especially the European Commission—while Congress acted last year to begin curbing the price of prescription drugs and insulin through the “Inflation Reduction Act.”

Those headwinds may prompt many companies to place greater strategic priority on collaborations and partnerships instead of M&A, Baral predicted, since they offer buyers early access to newer technologies before deciding whether to invest more capital through a merger or acquisition.

“Early-stage collaboration, early minority-stake investment becomes increasingly important, and it has been a cornerstone for early access to these technologies for the industry for a long, long time, and that is not changing any time soon,” Baral said. “On the other hand, even on the therapeutic area side, early-stage development is still expensive to do in-house for the large biopharma companies because of their cost structure.

“So, it is efficient cost-wise and speed-wise to buy these assets when they reach a certain point, which is probably at Phase II onward, and then you can pull the trigger on acquisitions if needed,” he added.

The post EY Eyes Comeback for Biopharma M&A appeared first on GEN - Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News.

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IMF Upgrades Global Growth Forecast As Inflation Cools

IMF Upgrades Global Growth Forecast As Inflation Cools

The International Monetary Fund published its latest World Economic Outlook on Monday,…

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IMF Upgrades Global Growth Forecast As Inflation Cools

The International Monetary Fund published its latest World Economic Outlook on Monday, painting a slightly less gloomy picture than three and a half months ago, as inflation appears to have peaked in 2022, consumer spending remains robust and the energy crisis following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has been less severe than initially feared.

But, as Statista's Felix Richter notes, that’s not to say the outlook is rosy, as the global economy still faces major headwinds.

However, the IMF predicts the slowdown to be less pronounced than previously anticipated.

Global growth is now expected to fall from 3.4 percent in 2022 to 2.9 percent this year, before rebounding to 3.1 percent in 2024.

The 2023 growth projection is up from an October estimate of 2.7 percent, as the IMF sees far fewer countries facing recession this year and does no longer anticipates a global downturn.

Infographic: IMF Upgrades Global Growth Forecast as Inflation Cools | Statista

You will find more infographics at Statista

One of the reasons behind the cautiously optimistic outlook is the latest downward trend in inflation, which suggests that inflation may have peaked in 2022.

The IMF predicts global inflation to cool to 6.6 percent in 2023 and 4.3 percent in 2024, which is still above pre-pandemic levels of about 3.5 percent, but significantly lower than the 8.8 percent observed in 2022.

“Economic growth proved surprisingly resilient in the third quarter of last year, with strong labor markets, robust household consumption and business investment, and better-than-expected adaptation to the energy crisis in Europe,” Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas, the IMF’s chief economist, wrote in a blog post released along with the report.

“Inflation, too, showed improvement, with overall measures now decreasing in most countries—even if core inflation, which excludes more volatile energy and food prices, has yet to peak in many countries.”

The risks to the latest outlook remain tilted to the downside, the IMF notes, as the war in Ukraine could further escalate, inflation continues to require tight monetary policies and China’s recovery from Covid-19 disruptions remains fragile. On the plus side, strong labor markets and solid wage growth could bolster consumer demand, while easing supply chain disruptions could help cool inflation and limit the need for more monetary tightening.

In conclusion, Gourinchas calls for multilateral cooperation to counter “the forces of geoeconomic fragmentation”.

“This time around, the global economic outlook hasn’t worsened,” he writes. “That’s good news, but not enough. The road back to a full recovery, with sustainable growth, stable prices, and progress for all, is only starting.”

However, just because the 'trend' has shifted doesn't mean it's mission accomplished...

That looks an awful lot like Central Bankers' nemesis remains - global stagflation curb stomps the dovish hopes.

Tyler Durden Tue, 01/31/2023 - 14:45

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Nike Escalates Design Battle Against Lululemon

The sportswear giant is accusing lululemon of patent infringement.

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The sportswear giant is accusing lululemon of patent infringement.

The Gucci loafers. The Burberry  (BBRYF) trench coat. When it comes to fashion, having a unique design is everything. This is why brands spend millions both creating and protecting their signature looks and the reason, as in the case of Adidas  (ADDDF) , extricating a brand's design from creators who behave badly is a costly and difficult process.

There is also the constant effort to release new styles without infringing on another group's style. This week, sportswear giant Nike  (NKE) - Get Free Report filed a lawsuit accusing lululemon  (LULU) - Get Free Report of infringing on its patents in the shoe line that the Vancouver-based activewear company launched last spring.

After years of selling exclusively clothing, accessories and the odd yoga mat, lululemon expanded into the world of footwear with a running shoe it dubbed Blissfeel last March. These were soon followed by training shoe and pool slide styles known as Chargefeel, Strongfeel -- all three of the designs (including a Chargefeel Low and a Chargefeel Mid design) have been mentioned in the lawsuit as causing "economic harm and irreparable injury" to Nike.

Nike's History Of Suing Lululemon Over Design

The specific issue lies in the technology used to build the shoes. According to the lawsuit filed in Manhattan federal court, certain knitted elements, webbing and tubular structures are too similar to ones that had been used by Nike earlier.

Nike is keeping the amount it hopes to receive from lululemon under wraps but is insisting the company infringed on its patent when releasing a shoe line too similar to its own. Lululemon had previously talked about how its shoe line "far exceeded" its leaders' expectations both in terms of sales and ability to expand.

In a Q1 earnings call, chief executive Calvin McDonald said that the line "definitely had a lot more demand than we anticipated."

Nike has already tried to go after lululemon through the courts once before. In January 2022, it accused the company of infringing on six patents over its at-home Mirror Home Gym. As the world emerged out of the pandemic, lululemon has been billing it as a hybrid model between at-home and in-person classes. 

The lawsuit was also filed in the U.S. District Court in Manhattan but ultimately fizzled out.

When it comes to the shoe line lawsuit, Lululemon has been telling media outlets that "Nike's claims are unjustified" and the company "look[s] forward to proving [their] case in court."

Lululemon

Some More Examples Of Prominent Design Battles

In the fashion industry, design infringement accusations are common and rarely lead to high-profile rulings. While Nike has gone after the technology itself in both cases, lawsuits more often focus on the style or pattern on a given piece.

Shein, a China-based fast-fashion company that took on longtime leaders like H&M  (HNNMY)  and Fast Retailing  (FRCOF) 's Uniqlo with its bottom-of-the-barrel pricing, has faced numerous allegations from smaller and independent designers over the copying of designs -- in some cases not even from fashion designers but artists painting in local communities.

"They didn't remotely bother trying to change anything," U.K.-based artist Vanessa Bowman told the Guardian after seeing her painting of a local church appear on a sweater on Shein's website. "The things I paint are my garden and my little village: it’s my life. And they’ve just taken my world to China and whacked it on an acrylic jumper."

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