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Business Roundup

March 26, 2007 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 85, Issue 13

Oxford Catalysts has opened a $2 million laboratory in Milton Park, Oxfordshire, England. The University of Oxford spin-off will use the lab for development, preparation, characterization, and testing of catalysts and small-scale devices incorporating its catalyst technologies.

Air Products & Chemicals has embarked on what it calls a "major expansion" of its technology center in Shanghai. The company will expand its chemistry labs, add two high-pressure polyurethane machines, and install other equipment.

Shin-Etsu Chemical's Japanese methyl cellulose plant suffered an explosion and fire that injured 17 people and knocked out about one-third of the company's 63,000 metric tons of annual capacity for the chemical. Shin-Etsu says it is the world's leading producer of methyl cellulose.

Messer Group is spending roughly $50 million to build one of Spain's largest air separation plants. Scheduled for commissioning in July 2008, the plant will provide chemical companies in the Tarragona region with oxygen, nitrogen, and argon.

Evotech and Boehringer Ingelheim have formed a target discovery agreement aimed at Alzheimer's disease. The collaboration, which will also involve Vienna's Research Institute of Molecular Pathology, could be worth up to $27 million in milestone payments for Evotech.

Thermo Fisher Scientific and Gerresheimer Group are combining their glass labware businesses into a joint venture, Kimble/Chase Life Scienceware. The venture will be based in New Jersey and have annual sales of about $125 million.

Degussa and Rhodia have entered a cross-license agreement covering the production and use of precipitated silica. The agreement, the companies say, will enable their customers to use each other's intellectual property.

Ensus Group, owned by two private equity firms, has commissioned British engineering company Simon Carves to design and build what it says will be the U.K.'s first world-scale bioethanol plant. The plant, which will be based on wheat, is scheduled to begin operation in early 2009 with annual capacity of 400 million L.

GlaxoSmithKline will spend $13 million to expand its three-year-old Center for Research in Cognitive & Neurodegenerative Disorders, in Singapore. The funds will enable the construction of a new medicinal chemistry lab and a doubling of the number of researchers at the center to 60.



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