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Business Roundup

March 9, 2009 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 87, Issue 10

COGNIS has completed the sale of its botanical extract business, which had $11 million in sales in 2007, to Burgundy Botanical Extracts. Burgundy, based near Lyon, France, specializes in solvent-based botanical extracts for use in dietary supplements, cosmetics, and pharmaceuticals.

BASF and Centrotherm Photovoltaics have extended a joint agreement to develop chemicals used to manufacture crystalline solar cells. The first product from the collaboration, started in 2008, is expected this year and will improve solar cell texturing to enhance efficiency.

THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION has extended its deadline to review BASF’s acquisition of Ciba for antitrust implications from Feb. 26 to March 12.

GEVO has agreed to license Cargill yeast organisms that convert mixed sugars derived from cellulose into various chemical products. Gevo aims to introduce genes into the organisms that would convert the sugars into isobutyl alcohol, which it plans to use to make fuels and chemicals.

THE MULTIPLE MYELOMA Research Foundation has awarded $500,000 each to Aileron Therapeutics and Astex Therapeutics to fund novel approaches aimed at combating the rare cancer. Aileron is developing drugs from “stapled,” or reinforced helical, peptides that can restore programmed cell death in multiple myeloma cells. Astex’ cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor blocks the uncontrolled proliferation of cancer cells.

LONZAhas entered a custom manufacturing agreement with Ireland-based Opsona Therapeutics to make OPN-305, a humanized monoclonal antibody, which will be investigated in 2010 as a treatment for inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. Separately, Lonza has entered a contract with TcL Pharma, based in France, to make a PEGylated anti-CD28 antibody fragment that will soon undergo Phase I trials to treat graft rejection and autoimmune diseases.

NOVARTIS and Manchester, England-based Epistem have teamed up to apply Epistem’s stem cell expertise and Novartis’ bioinformatics and disease pathway know-how to develop novel drug targets. Novartis will hand over $4 million up front and provide two years of research funding in exchange for an exclusive option to license any targets discovered in the collaboration.



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