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Business Roundup

December 8, 2008 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 86, Issue 49

DSM has agreed to sell its Solutech business to Lydall, a Connecticut-based engineered products maker. Founded in 1993, Solutech runs two plants in the Netherlands that make microporous membranes for air and liquid filtration; it had sales of $3.75 million in 2007.

The University of Georgia has licensed technology for making succinic acid to Roquette, a French starch and derivatives maker. University researchers claim their fermentation route is competitive with an existing route based on butane. Roquette plans to have a demonstration plant running by 2009.

Sasol has received about $1 million in funding from the Scottish economic development agency to research nanotechnology to enhance its Fischer-Tropsch chemistry. The R&D will be carried out at Sasol's facilities in St. Andrews, Scotland, in a four-year project that will cost roughly $6.8 million.

Solvay has taken a 13% equity stake in U.K.-based fuel-cell developer ACAL Energy for just under $2 million. Solvay manufactures polymer membranes used in fuel cells.

LG Chem will spin off as a separate company its poorly performing construction and car materials business. In the latest fiscal year, the business generated about 21% of the South Korean firm's $6.6 billion in sales. It produces parts and upholstery for cars as well as flooring materials and windows for houses.

Konarka Technologies, maker of flexible organic photovoltaics, will head a consortium of German academic institutions with the aim of extending the life span of organic solar cells. Germany's Federal Ministry of Education & Research will fund the research with $3.2 million over the next three years.

Evotec and Novartis have teamed up in a three-year collaboration to identify and develop novel small-molecule therapeutics. Evotec is eligible for an up-front payment, research funding, and preclinical and clinical milestone payments that could exceed $28 million.

Nitto Denko will spend nearly $7 million over the next three years to finance research in Singapore on integrated organic optoelectronic sensing devices that can be used to make disease-detecting biosensors. The Japanese firm will work with research agencies financed by Singapore's government.

Takeda Pharmaceutical will build a new central drug discovery lab that employs about 1,500 researchers. To be located south of Tokyo, the new center will consolidate facilities that are now based hundreds of miles apart in Osaka and Tsukuba, Japan. Takeda expects it to open in 2010.



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