Miscellany

Miscellany

Pfizer seeks another miracle drug

It has been 20 years since Viagra was introduced, and Pfizer is still searching for another drug with as much earning power as the revolutionary blue erection pill.

If anything, the chances for another miracle drug may be waning as the pharmaceutical giant constrains its research and development budget amid broader cost-cutting efforts.

Pfizer forecasts it will spend $7.4 to $7.9 billion this year on R&D, compared with $7.7 billion last year, according to projections released in February.

Road gets tougher for electric car innovator Tesla

Tesla, which until recently had been seen as cruising to a bright future, has suddenly hit a rough stretch as fresh concerns over the future of autonomous vehicles have exacerbated worries over its ability to hit production targets.

Shares in the California electric car innovator skidded 7.7 per cent on Wednesday at the close, a day after an 8.22 per cent slide. The declines have wiped out some $9 billion in market value.

Nasa pushes back space telescope launch to 2020

The launch of National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) next giant space telescope has been delayed until at least May 2020, the US space agency said on Tuesday, in the latest setback for the much-anticipated project.

The James Webb Space Telescope — which Nasa has long expected to replace the fabled Hubble — was initially meant to go into service this year but has faced multiple hitches.

Driver cancellation falls after action from cab aggregators

Cancellation of rides by cab drivers have come down in the past few months after the aggregators started taking strict action and imposing fine on them. The online cab industry has been seeing high driver side cancellations till the first half of 2017. These have come down by half in the past few months, as per the data from RedSeer Consulting.

Upstarts Are Swiping Business from Visa and Mastercard in India

Global card companies like Visa Inc and Mastercard Inc are losing market share to upstarts in the world’s most innovative payments market: India.

Transactions through India’s homegrown Unified Payments Interface — which allows mobile apps run by retailers, airlines and other firms to take payment directly from bank accounts — reached almost half the value of debit and credit cards swiped at stores last month, central bank data show.

Robots could replace surgeons in battle against cancer

Fred Moll was a young surgical resident when he assisted on his first keyhole surgery in 1982. The technique, otherwise known as laparoscopic surgery, requires doctors to use unusually slender, extra-long tools to perform operations through tiny incisions. Today’s laparoscopic surgeons use high-definition cameras to look inside patients’ bodies, but even the older primitive version Moll used blew his mind. “Wow,” he recalls thinking. “This has to be a better way of doing things.” He withdrew from his residency and began working on medical devices.

PM to meet PSU chiefs

Prime minister Narendra Modi will chair a meeting of heads of top state-run enterprises next month to chalk out a strategy for the functioning and role of CPSEs to realise the vision of a ‘new India’, officials said.

Officials in the departme­nt of public enterprises said the prime minister will preside over the conclave on April 9 on the theme of ‘redefining the role and functioning of CPSEs’ to realise the New India-Vision 2022.

Personalisation to drive digital future in travel

Customer-centric needs will power future advancements in digitisation and technology in the travel and transportation sector, and businesses will have to design their technologies around individualised user experience and safety, both physical and data-related, to grow and retain loyalty, experts said here today.

YouTube follows Amazon into movie theatres

YouTube has announced it is making a movie in-house to be released in theaters, in a development seen as a step towards the model of new-media innovator Amazon.

‘Vulture Club’, which is in post-production, stars Oscar winner Susan Sarandon (‘Dead Man Walking’, ‘Th­elma and Louise’) as an emergency room nurse wh­ose son is been kidnapped by terrorists. Directed by Iranian-Ame­rican Maryam Keshavarz (‘Circumstance’), the thri­ller also stars Edie Falco (The Sopranos, ‘Nurse Jackie’) and Matt Bomer (‘Magic Mike’, ‘American Horror Story: Hotel’).

E-commerce players to control 70% online inventory by 2020

By 2020, the stock keeping and delivery of 70 per cent of consumer goods sold online will be controlled by the e-commerce companies. The share of goods dispatched by sellers on their own has been shrinking in the past two years. This scenario will keep on increasing the need for investments by e-commerce companies and consequently profitability will remain elusive.

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