5 Top Stories

New Wegovy Uses; Nvidia Backs Biotech; SoftBank Backs Truck

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More Uses for Wegovy?

Research is underway into whether “miracle drugs” Wegovy and Ozempic could be used on conditions such as addiction and dementia, on top of their primary use as a diabetes treatment. Novo Nordisk’s [NOVO-B.CO] Wegovy is effective for weight loss because it imitates an appetite-regulating gut hormone, which scientists think could be effective in overcoming drug and alcohol addiction. This comes after Novo Nordisk last month revealed that the drug prompted significant reductions in heart failure symptoms.

SoftBank Backs Autonomous Truck Start-up

Japan’s SoftBank [9984.T] has backed a new autonomous trucking start-up to the tune of $1bn, Bloomberg reports. Named Stack AV, the start-up was founded by the team that set up Argo AI, the now-defunct self-driving unit of Ford [F] and Volkswagen [VOW.DE]. The new firm will be based in Pittsburgh, as part of Robotics Row, the city’s growing tech hub. SoftBank last year pulled out of autonomous vehicle firm Cruise LLC, selling its $2.1bn stake to General Motors [GM].

Lucid Plans China Expansion

Automaker Lucid [LCID] is weighing a move into China. The country is “going to be likely the world’s largest and fastest adopting EV market as we can see,” Eric Bach, Lucid Chief Engineer, told CNBC at this week’s IAA car show in Munich. Lucid recently hired Zhu Jiang, a former executive at Chinese EV firm Nio [NIO]. China has one of the world’s most aggressive EV markets, with a host of local brands competing with each other and with US titan Tesla [TSLA].

Tencent Follows Baidu with AI Model

On Thursday leading Chinese tech stock Tencent [0700.HK] launched Hunyuan, its business-oriented artificial intelligence (AI) model, as well as an AI chatbot — its answer to ChatGPT, which is not officially available in China. Hunyuan will integrate with the company’s existing video conferencing and social media offerings. Earlier this week, rival Baidu [9888.HK] similarly launched a range of AI products, with Beijing having given the regulatory nod last month.

Nvidia Funds AI Biotech Start-up

Palo Alto-based Inceptive — founded four years ago by former Google [GOOGL] AI expert Jakob Uszkoreit — is at the forefront of a wave of companies applying AI to pharmaceuticals. In its most recent funding round it has brought in $100m from the likes of NVentures, Nvidia’s [NVDA] venture capital arm, and Andreessen Horowitz, more than tripling its valuation, the Financial Times reports. The funds will be used for drug development.

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