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Business Roundup

October 27, 2008 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 86, Issue 43

Cobalt Biofuels has raised $25 million in a "series C" round of financing led by the venture-capital firms LSP and Pinnacle Ventures. Based in Mountain View, Calif., Cobalt is developing biobutanol as a biofuel through a fermentation process.

Süd-Chemie has agreed to acquire Cookson's Hi-Tech ceramic filters business. The Alfred Station, N.Y.-based business generated $8.4 million in sales during the first six months of 2008 making ceramic filters based on zirconia and alumina for applications such as steel and iron casting. Süd-Chemie says the market for the filters is growing at double-digit rates.

InnoCentive, the online network where scientists can solve scientific challenges, is entering the energy market. It has formed a partnership with Paradigm, a provider of software to the oil and gas industry, to accelerate subsurface modeling technology through geophysics, geology, petrophysics, and engineering.

A. Schulman says that it received a tentative takeover offer from an unnamed company but that UBS, its financial adviser, rejected the offer as inadequate. Schulman says it continues to pursue strategic options, including a sale or merger.

BASF has cut production this month of the nylon 6 precursor caprolactam to about 65% of capacity. The company blames the cutback, at its plants in Freeport, Texas; Antwerp, Belgium; and Ludwigshafen, Germany, on sluggish demand and high raw material and energy costs.

Cabot and China National BlueStar have broken ground on a $40 million, 7,000-metric-ton-per-year fumed silica facility in Tianjin, China. The partners plan to start up the venture, Cabot Bluestar Chemical, in mid-2010.

WuXi PharmaTech has expanded its pharmaceutical R&D services collaboration with Johnson & Johnson. To its existing discovery chemistry contract, WuXi will add discovery biology, chemical and analytical development, formulation, and preclinical and bioanalytical services.

Novartis will cut some 550 sales jobs in the U.S. as it launches a new commercial model for its generic drugs business. The move is expected to save the company $80 million per year starting in 2010. Separately, the Swiss firm has appointed Joerg Reinhardt, former head of vaccines and diagnostics, to the newly created role of chief operating officer.



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