Intel sells SK Hynix 8000 million euros flash memory business to focus on 5G and artificial intelligence - Draft movement in the flash memory industry.

NAND chips are technological components synonymous with storage systems. They're on your Flash drives and hard drives. The main manufacturers in the sector are Samsung, Hynix, Kioxia-formerly part of Toshiba-and, until now, Intel.

But as confirmed by several US media such as TechCrunch, Intel has just agreed the sale of its memory division to its competitor, SK Hynix, for 9.000 million dollars —close to 7.600 million euros—. The goal, as the company has pointed out, is to continue focusing on new technologies such as 5G or artificial intelligence.

The first medium to advance this corporate operation was the Wall Street Journal earlier this week. The operation makes Hynix one of the largest manufacturers of NAND memories, second only to Samsung.

Intel will keep Optane, its mechanical hard drive division, while Hynix will keep its NAND SSD and NAND components business as well as its factory in Dalian, China. The firms expect the agreement to be ratified by regulators by the end of 2021, and the transfer of Intel's intellectual property will be effective by March 2025 at the latest.

Intel sells SK Hynix 8000 million euros flash memory business

Until the transfer of business is effective, Intel will continue to manufacture flash memories. The company has already got rid of its chip modems segment, which it sold to Apple last year for just under 1.000 million euros.

The CEO of Intel, a Californian company, is Bob Swan. In the announcement of this operation, he assured that the sale is part of the plans to "progress and prioritize long-term growth, including artificial intelligence, 5G networks and intelligent and cutting-edge computing".

In the first six months of the year, the flash memory business accounted for ingresos 2.8 billion in revenue, and operativo 600 million in operating profit. The total turnover of Intel memories amounted to 3.000 million dollars.

For its part, SK Hynix, a South Korean firm, has assured that the purchase will allow them to "optimize" their business structure, expand their innovation portfolio in the flash memory segment, "comparable to what we have achieved in DRAM memories".

Intel sells SK Hynix 8000 million euros flash memory business


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UK to conduct first human challenge trials: volunteers will be infected on purpose to test efficacy of coronavirus vaccine

The UK Government will fund with almost 37 million euros (£33.6 million) the first human challenge trials to find a coronavirus vaccine, the Financial Times reports.

As already advanced the research would be carried out at the Royal Free Hospital in London and developed by the pharmaceutical firm Hvivo, which has stated that the work will be carried out "under the scrutiny of highly trained scientists and doctors". It is also supported by Imperial College London.

These types of trials attempt to accelerate the development of a vaccine candidate by intentionally infecting participants with the coronavirus a month or so after vaccination, rather than waiting for them to be exposed naturally as conventional trials usually do.

In May, the World Health Organization published a paper highlighting the value of such trials and detailing a guide to conducting them in an ethical and safe manner.

The idea of such trials is to skip phase III of clinical trials, which requires thousands or tens of thousands of people to receive the vaccine or placebo to see the results.

At the time, the possibility of conducting human challenge trials for COVID-19 divided the scientific community around whether these tests are ethical and whether they can be performed safely.

The Nuffield Council on Bioethics assured that this cannot be done for COVID-19, since there are no official and specific treatments.

For the UK trial, organizers plan to use remdesivir as a rescue drug, the only drug officially approved as a COVID-19 therapy, but which has garnered mixed test results.

The 1daysooner Foundation, which advocates for this type of studies, has a website since the beginning of the pandemic in which volunteers can sign up to participate if one were to be designed for COVID-19. So far more than 38,500 people have registered worldwide.

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