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MOFO REPRESENTS ALCON IN SMART LENS LICENSE WITH GOOGLE

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Mika Mayer
Mika Mayer

Mika Mayer

Contact lens that monitors blood-sugar levels and corrects vision is the latest in a series of tech products designed to monitor body functions 

Morrison & Foerster represented Alcon, the eye care division of Novartis AG, in an agreement with a division of Google Inc. to in-license its “smart lens” technology for all ocular medical uses.

During the last several months, the Morrison & Foerster team negotiated and drafted the agreement and performed the patent and transactional diligence. The agreement marries Alcon’s expertise in physiology and visual performance of the eye, clinical development, and evaluation with Google’s miniaturized electronics, low power chip design, and microfabrication capabilities.

“Morrison & Foerster has deep roots in the technology and life sciences industries and we are extraordinarily fortunate that Alcon called on us to represent them in this groundbreaking matter,” said Mika Mayer, co-founder of the firm’s Venture Intellectual Property Group and chair of the firm’s Medical Device Group. “Alcon’s latest agreement with Google has the potential to improve the quality of life for millions of people.”

The agreement with Google(x), a team within Google, provides Alcon with the opportunity to develop and commercialize Google’s “smart lens” technology, with the potential to transform eye care and further enhance Alcon’s pipeline and global leadership in lenses. Under the agreement, Google(x) and Alcon will collaborate to develop a “smart lens” that has the potential to address ocular conditions. The smart lens technology involves non-invasive sensors, microchips, and other miniaturized electronics that are embedded within contact lenses. Alcon plans to use this technology to help diabetic patients manage their disease via a continuous, minimally invasive measurement of the body’s glucose level, and to help people living with presbyopia (blurred vision).

Van Ellis

Van Ellis

“Alcon’s collaboration with Google is a transformative step in merging technology with health care, and MoFo is delighted to have worked with Alcon on this deal,” said Van Ellis, a partner in Morrison & Foerster’s Technology Transactions, Corporate, and Life Sciences Groups.

The Morrison & Foerster team representing Alcon was led by San Francisco partner Van Ellis and Palo Alto partner Mika Mayer, with assistance from Palo Alto of counsel Walter Wu and Gal Eschet, Palo Alto associate Amy Motomura, San Francisco associate Aaron Schohn, and London associate Deirdre Moynihan.

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Oil set for steady gains as economies shake off pandemic blues – Reuters poll

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Oil set for steady gains as economies shake off pandemic blues - Reuters poll 1

By Sumita Layek and Bharat Gautam

(Reuters) – Oil prices will stage a steady recovery this year as vaccines reach more people and speed an economic revival, with further impetus coming from stimulus and output discipline by top crude producers, a Reuters poll showed on Friday.

The survey of 55 participants forecast Brent crude would average $59.07 per barrel in 2021, up from last month’s $54.47 forecast.

Brent has averaged around $58.80 so far this year.

“Travel and leisure activity look set to catch up to buoyant manufacturing activity due to the mix of stimulus, confidence, vaccines, and more targeted pandemic measures,” said Norbert Ruecker of Julius Baer.

“Against these demand dynamics, the supply side is unlikely to catch up on time, leaving the oil market in tightening mode for months to come.”

Of the 41 respondents who participated in both the February and January polls, 32 raised their forecasts.

Most analysts said the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies (OPEC+) may ease current output curbs when they meet on March 4, but would still agree to maintain supply discipline.

“With OPEC+ endeavouring to keep global oil production below demand, inventories should continue falling this year and allow prices to rise further,” said UBS analyst Giovanni Staunovo.

Oil demand was seen growing by 5-7 million barrels per day in 2021, as per the poll.

However, experts said any deterioration in the COVID-19 situation and the possible lifting of U.S. sanctions on Iran could hold back oil’s recovery.

The poll forecast U.S. crude to average $55.93 per barrel in 2021 versus January’s $51.42 consensus.

Analysts expect U.S. production to rise moderately this year, although new measures from U.S. President Joe Biden to tame the oil sector could curb output in the long run.

“A structural shift away from fossil fuels” may prevent oil from returning to the highs of previous decades, said Economist Intelligence Unit analyst Cailin Birch.

(Reporting by Sumita Layek and Bharat Govind Gautam in Bengaluru; Editing by Arpan Varghese, Noah Browning and Barbara Lewis)

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Japan’s jobless rate seen up in January due to COVID-19 emergency measures – Reuters poll

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Japan's jobless rate seen up in January due to COVID-19 emergency measures - Reuters poll 2

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s jobless rate is expected to have edged up in January as service industry businesses suffered renewed restrictions on movement to fight spread of the coronavirus in some areas, including Tokyo, a Reuters poll of economists showed on Friday.

While industrial production activity picked up in Japan, emergency curbs rolled out last month such as asking restaurants to close early and suspending the national travel campaign hurt the jobs market, analysts said.

The nation’s unemployment rate likely rose 3.0% in January, up from 2.9% in December, the poll of 15 economists found.

The jobs-to-applicants ratio, a gauge of the availability of jobs, was seen at 1.06 in January, unchanged from December, but stayed near September’s seven-year low of 1.03, the poll showed.

“As the impact from the coronavirus pandemic prolongs, it is hard for firms, especially the service sector, to expect their business profits to improve,” said Yusuke Shimoda, senior economist at Japan Research Institute.

“So, their willingness to hire employees appear to be subdued and it is difficult to see the jobs market recovering soon.”

Some analysts also said the government’s steps to support employment and existing labour shortages will likely prevent the jobless rate from worsening sharply.

The government will announce the labour market data at 8:30 a.m. Japan time on Tuesday (2330 GMT Monday).

Analysts expect the economy to contract in the current quarter due to the emergency measures to counter the spread of the disease.

(Reporting by Kaori Kaneko; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

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China’s economy could grow 8-9% this year from low base in 2020 – central bank adviser

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China's economy could grow 8-9% this year from low base in 2020 - central bank adviser 3

BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s gross domestic product (GDP) could expand 8-9% in 2021 as it continues to rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic, Liu Shijin, a policy adviser to the People’s Bank of China, said on Friday.

This speed of recovery would not mean China has returned to a “high-growth” period, said Liu, as it would be from a low base in 2020, when China’s economy grew 2.3%.

Analysts from HSBC this week forecast that China would grow 8.5% this year, leading the global economic recovery from the pandemic.

If 2020 and 2021’s average GDP growth is around 5%, this would be a “not bad” outcome, said Liu, speaking at an online conference.

China is set to release a government work report on March 5 which typically includes a GDP growth target for the year.

Last year’s report did not include one due to uncertainties caused by the coronavirus. Reuters previously reported that 2021’s report will also not set a target.

(Reporting by Gabriel Crossley and Muyu Xu; Editing by Sam Holmes and Ana Nicolaci da Costa)

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