In today’s Bulldog wrapup of technology and life science news:
- Apple may be building an electric car
- Nissan plans autonomous cars
- Carl Icahn bets $100 million on Lyft
- Heat Bio launching clinical trial
- Rdio launches new service
- VentureBeat: Apple looks to be planning electric car
VentureBeat is reporting that Apple appears to be building an electric car.
“This week, the Cupertino company reportedly will settle a lawsuit brought against it by A123 Systems — a large-battery company that alleges Apple deliberately poached its employees to develop its own car battery technology,” the news site says.
“[C]ourt documents filed in March, when combined with other news that has recently come to light, provide us with a compelling case that Apple is developing its own battery technology — likely in order to build a car.”
Read the full story at:
- CEO: Nissan will be ready with autonomous driving by 2020
Chief Executive Carlos Ghosn says Nissan Motor Co. will have vehicles packed with autonomous driving technology by 2020 but whether people will be able to drive them on roads is up to government regulators.
He says good progress is being made toward the Japanese automaker’s goal.
Many of the world’s automakers, and companies outside the auto industry such as Google, are working on technologies that allow cars to navigate without human intervention.
The bigger hurdle for such vehicles becoming readily available to consumers is approval from regulators around the world, he told reporters at Yokohama headquarters.
Ghosn said autonomous driving was sure to be part of the cars of the future because market studies with consumers, especially younger drivers, who will determine future cars, show that is what they want, along with connectivity and zero, or very low, emissions.
Ghosn says a totally driver-less car is not at the center of the automaker’s plans. He says the autonomous driving Nissan foresees will assist or enhance driving.
- Ride-hailing service Lyft says Icahn makes $100M investment
Carl Icahn is joining the parade of investors in startups, hitching a $100 million ride with the ride-hailing service Lyft.
The billionaire activist investor is known for tangling with corporate boards, sometimes launching proxy fights and pushing companies to make big changes or sell themselves. He’s less well known for investing in startups, but that’s become one of the hottest areas in the market. Venture capitalists poured more than $48 billion into startups last year, the most since the dot-com bubble burst.
Icahn owns stakes in Apple, Yahoo, Netflix, Hertz, Gannett and eBay, among many other publicly traded companies.
Users download Lyft’s app and use it to book a ride from a nearby driver, and they can also use the app to pay for their rides. In March, the company raised $530 million and valued itself at $2.5 billion. The privately held company said Friday it brought in $150 million in the new round of fundraising including Icahn’s investment.
Lyft was launched in 2012 and touts its friendly drivers and an alternative image: In its early days its cars were marked with huge, pink, fuzzy mustaches strapped to the front bumper. This year the company adopted a more modest version of the mustache that sits on the dashboard of the car instead of its exterior.
The company says it operates in about 65 cities including New York, San Francisco and Washington DC. In the fall it rolled out a new service, Lyft Line, that matches up travelers with similar destinations so they can share a ride and save money.
Lyft rival Uber Technologies says it is active in 58 countries, and it’s valued at more than $40 billion.
- Heat Bio launching clinical trial
Chapel Hill-based Heat Biologics is launching a clinical trial targeting non-small cell lung cancer.
Heat is focused on oncology drug treatments.
“This new trial enables Heat to combine its HS-110 with multiple immune modulating strategies. HS-110 is Heat’s first product candidate in a series of proprietary ImPACT drugs designed to direct killer T cells to attack cancer. Daniel Morgensztern, M.D., Associate Professor of Medicine at the Washington University Siteman Cancer Center, is Lead Investigator of this new Phase 1b trial,” the company says.
“Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is now recognized as a disease that appears susceptible to an immune therapy approach, based on the significant benefit reported with various checkpoint inhibitors. This clinical study is an opportunity for us to explore the potential synergy of HS-110 in combination with various tumor anti-immunosuppressive agents,” Morgensztern saud.
- Rdio offers new $4 per month hybrid streaming tier
Music streaming service Rdio is unveiling a new $4-per-month plan that allows subscribers to save 25 songs to their smartphone for offline listening while getting ad-free Internet radio with unlimited skips.
The plan mimics an offering that rival Rhapsody unveiled with wireless partner T-Mobile last June, except Rdio is offering the price to anyone.
T-Mobile gives away the service to its highest-tier subscribers and reserves the $4 price for its other customers. Otherwise Rhapsody makes the plan available for $5 a month.
It’s the latest salvo in the increasingly competitive streaming music space ahead of Apple’s expected relaunch of Beats Music next month.
The service, called “Rdio Select,” is available in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, India and South Africa with more countries to be added later.