Business digest

C&I Issue 4, 2017

$175, 000
Prize pool put up by the US-headquartered Green Chemistry & Commerce Council and crowdsourcing InnoCentive for a global competition to identify preservatives with improved environmental health and safety profiles for use in cosmetics, personal care and household products. P&G and J&J are among the sponsors of the contest, which will award three to five cash prizes, with a minimum single prize award of $25,000.

Estimated outlay by BASF into its new Innovation Campus Asia Pacific in Mumbai, India; its  largest R&D investment in South Asia. All global research operations at the campus will come under BASF Chemicals India. The campus will expand the company’s existing R&D activities in India to include global and regional research on a wide range of specialty chemicals.

Committed by Cancer Research UK and the Cancer Research Technology Pioneer Fund (CPF) in collaboration with the National Cancer Institute (NCI) in the US to develop and test new molecules for targeting RAS, one of the most common driving mutations in aggressive, hard to treat cancers including pancreatic and lung cancers. Scientists at the NCI in Frederick, Maryland, USA will work with the Drug Discovery Unit at the Cancer Research UK Beatson Institute in Glasgow, Scotland to develop standard tests to analyse these novel RAS inhibitors.

Dedicated funding from Bio-based Industries Joint Undertaking programme (BBI JU) to encourage innovation and investment in the European bio-based economy. The 2017 call is for solutions to problems in feedstock supplies, optimised processing for integrated biorefineries, bio-based products and market uptake of these applications.

US industrial gas company Air Products has announced that it will build – along with its joint venture partner in India, Inox Air Products – six new air separation units in India. The total capacity of these plants, scheduled to come on stream during 2018 and 2019, will be over 1,200t/day of a liquid product required for iron and steel making, glass manufacturing, and pharmaceuticals.

German major BASF has signed an agreement to acquire Grupo Thermotek, a leading waterproofing systems supplier. The Mexican company’s products include resinous and dispersion-based materials as well as modified asphalt sheet membranes for the construction industry. The transaction is expected to close by mid-2017.

UK analytical science consultancy, Reading Scientific Services (RSSL) has relocated its biomolecular analysis group to new laboratories in its JJT facility at Reading University, UK. The expansion sees new investment in protein characterisation and host cell protein and DNA analysis technologies, including two purpose-built PCR analysis suites, and an increase in the number of scientists working within the group.

The Chemical Business Association (CBA)’s Responsible Care Award has been won by Brenntag UK & Ireland, reflecting its commitment to a strong safety culture through training and communication and its engagement with its local communities. The winner of the CBA Award for a distributor company with an office-only operation was Bradford-based Chantry Chemicals, reflecting the company’s integration of Responsible Care into all its business operations and for its work with the local community. A certificate of commendation was awarded to Monarch Chemicals for its internal communications strategy.

London headquartered executive recruitment and career development consultants Chemical Search International has launched ChemExec (, a free to join online club for professionals in the chemicals, materials, resources and biosciences industries. The website will help members develop their skills, network with like-minded people, pursue their business interests and gain information on events and training.

Speciality chemicals company Clariant has opened a new bleaching earth production site for its business unit functional minerals in Gresik, Indonesia. The site increases the company’s regional production capacity for bleaching earth by 35%, thus expanding its footprint in the emerging Asia-Pacific region. The unit supplies customers worldwide with specialty products based on bentonite. In addition to the site in Indonesia, extra production capacity comes on stream in Turkey in April 2017, following a recently completed expansion in Mexico.

Biotechnology company Phagelux has reached an agreement with Johnson & Johnson Consumer to collaborate on the development of antibaterial skin care products. Phagelux will be responsible for developing these products, utilising its patented or patent pending technologies, while J&J will provide financial support, access to certain skin care and formulation know-how, and support in protocol strategy and design.

German specialty chemicals expert, Lanxess completes acquisition of US-based Chemtura, for € 2.4bn, in a deal that expands the company's portfolio beyond its synthetic rubber business. In addition to flame retardant and lubricant additives, the company will acquire Chemtura's urethanes and organometallics businesses and some 2,500 employees at 20 sites in 11 countries worldwide. The former Chemtura businesses generate sales of around €1.5bn/year.

Domain Therapeutics, a France- and Quebec-based biopharmaceutical company specialising in the R&D of new drug candidates that target G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs), is to collaborate with Pfizer to assess the impact of mutations on different signalling pathways engaged by GPCRs. This collaboration aims to validate potential targets across a range of therapeutic indications, including oncology and central nervous system disorders, by probing the structure–function relationships of various amino acid substitutions in each GPCR.

DSM Sinochem Pharmaceuticals (DSP) has announced the expansion of its manufacturing facility in Delft, the Netherlands, to meet the growing demand for sustainably produced 7-ADCA, the key intermediate to produce cephalosporin APIs. A new fermenter will be added to the DSP site, which is expected to be fully operational in the last quarter of 2017.

US agribusiness FMC has acquired the portion of DuPont's Crop Protection Business it must divest to comply with the European Commission ruling related to its merger with The Dow Chemical. In return, DuPont will acquire FMC Health and Nutrition and receive a cash payment of $1.2bn from FMC. In 2017, FMC expects this acquired business will generate around $1.5bn in revenue and $475m of EBITDA.

French biotech Global Bioenergies has announced its success in producing isobutene on 5000L scale at its demonstration plant in Leuna, Germany. The company is one of the few companies worldwide, and the only one in Europe, that is developing a process to convert renewable resources into hydrocarbons through fermentation. The company also announced that the purification unit has received the approval from the TÜV, the principal certification body in Germany. After the demo plant is fully certified for operation, delivery of the first batches for testing is expected in June 2017.

The UK’s LGC has acquired contract research, development and manufacturing organisation, Axolabs, which specialises in the development of therapeutic nucleic acids (TNA). The life sciences measurement and testing company has also announced a major investment at its Biosearch subsidiary in Petaluma, California, US, to expand its GMP oligonucleotide manufacturing capacity to provide TNA synthesis to the 1kg scale in support of early stage clinical trials.

US-headquartered Milliken, which supplies polymer-bound colorants and additives, has acquired dyes and pigments company Keystone Aniline. The acquisition is expected to provide customers with a broader array of advanced colorant solutions, technologies and services.

Novartis is to expand its commercialisation agreement with Amgen for AMG 334 (erenumab), a human monoclonal antibody specifically designed for the prevention of migraine. The collaboration will co-commercialise the drug in the US; Novartis will retain exclusive rights in rest of world at the same time gaining rights in Canada. Amgen retains exclusive commercialisation rights in Japan. In addition, Novartis has entered into a clinical trial agreement with Allergan to conduct a Phase IIb study, involving the combination of a Novartis FXR agonist and Allergan's cenicriviroc (CVC), for the treatment of non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH).

UK biotech Plasticell is partnering with Kings College London to progress preclinical trials of its artificial blood platelet product, manufactured from pluripotent stem cells. The work is supported by a MedCity research grant which funds collaboration between leading SMEs and academics from London universities. In addition, the company has secured Biomedical Catalyst funding of over £920,000 from Innovate UK to create a safe, effective red blood cell substitute for human clinical transfusion, in collaboration with stem cell scientists at the University of Edinburgh. Over 90m blood transfusions are carried out worldwide each year and alternative sources to donor-derived blood are being sought to meet rising demand.

Japan’s Sawai Pharmaceutical has acquired the generic pharmaceuticals business of US Upsher-Smith, from its parent Acova for $1.05bn. The transaction will be financed by bank loans and available cash, and is expected to be finalised near the end of June 2017.

Specialty chemicals company Songwon Industrial has opened a new Technology Innovation Center at its Maeam site in South Korea. The facility will host R&D, global application community, and technical services to support the company’s development of new products from the design phase to final customer applications.

German-Spanish molecular biology company, Sygnis has announced the successful completion of the integration of US-based life sciences instruments company CBS Scientific.

The United Nations Environment Programme has launched Young Champions of the Earth, Sponsored by German materials specialist Covestro, the initiative aims to support 18 to 30-year olds from around the world with outstanding ideas to save the environment, and will establish an online space for brainstorming and knowledge sharing between them.

High performance polymers company Victrex has acquired Zyex, manufacturer of PEEK-based fibres, principally for the aerospace, automotive and industrial markets.

China-based Zhejiang Petroleum and Chemical has awarded DuPont Clean Technologies the contract for its MECS sulfuric acid regeneration (SAR) unit. With a capacity to regenerate 858mt of spent sulfuric acid, it will be designed to meet the Chinese Ministry of Environmental Protection’s current emission requirements for SO2, NOx and sulfuric acid mist.

European-headquartered Synexus and US-based Radiant Research are to form a single global site network, spanning 11 countries and offering access to more than 100m patients in key clinical development markets, operating under the Synexus name.

hybrid carAt JEC World 2017, in Paris, France, a door panel was displayed, constructed using Composites Evolution’s Biotex Flax. The panel, which uses a carbon/flax hybrid micro sandwich,  was developed by NetComposites, KS Composites and RiverSimple, for the latter’s Rasa hydrogen fuel cell car that is manufactured in Wales, UK. The micro sandwich combines the mechanical benefits of carbon with reduced weight, cost and environmental impact, as well as reduced noise, vibration and harshness issues.

bioebased coffee cupThe Skyshade 3300 canopy system installed at the East Liberty bus station in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, US, was produced by Extech/Exterior Technologies using Covestro’s Makrolon white UV polycarbonate sheet to cover a single-glazed area of 5,000 ft2 meeting requirements including outdoor weathering and impact resistance.

UK bioplastics manufacturer Biome Bioplastics claims to have produced the world’s first plant-based bioplastic coffee cup that is fully compostable and recyclable and does not require a fossil-based cop liner.

Solar PanelsSeveral BASF construction products, including concrete admixtures, grout,mortars, and water-resistant joint sealants have been used in the  construction of Morocco’s  Noor concentrated solar plant, said to be the largest of its type in the world. BASF’s products including Masterflow 765 grout and MasterGlenium Sky 671 super plasticiser were sleeted to meet the challenging environmental challenges of high temperatures in a desert region. When completed the complex will cover an area of around 30 km2 and produce about 500MW of electricity sufficient to power over 1m homes by 2018.

Become an SCI Member to receive benefits and discounts

Join SCI