Issue Date: April 13, 2009
Sumitomo Chemical has raised the operating rates of its four plants producing polarizing films for liquid-crystal-display televisions from 50% to around 75% because of strong demand from China. As a result, the company may reconsider plans to lay off 2,500 employees, or 10% of its global workforce, before March 2010 (C&EN, Feb. 9, page 17).
Aventine Renewable Energy, a large ethanol maker, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in Delaware. The company cites excess supply of ethanol and poor gasoline prices. Competitor VeraSun Energy has also filed for bankruptcy.
Uniqema Americas is changing its name to Vantage Oleochemicals. Vantage owner HIG Capital purchased the former Uniqema fatty acids and glycerin plant in Chicago last year for $90 million.
Michigan CMC Alliance has been formed by eight contract service providers focused on drug development. Members range from Ash Stevens, a manufacturer of bulk pharmaceutical chemicals, to Eurofins AvTech Laboratories, which offers analytical services.
Merck & Co. has signed a collaboration and license agreement for vernakalant, an investigational treatment for atrial fibrillation, from Cardiome Pharma. Merck will pay Cardiome an initial fee of $60 million, milestone payments of up to $300 million, royalties, and payments on sales of an approved product of up to $340 million.
Syncom has set up a chirality technology scouting service, Chirality First Time Right, to help customers choose the best way to make chiral drug compounds. The operation will be located at DSM's site in Geleen, the Netherlands. Syncom will combine its expertise with access to bio- and chemocatalysts from DSM.
Seattle Genetics has licensed its antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) technology, which tethers a potent anticancer small molecule to an antibody, to Millennium, a subsidiary of Takeda. Seattle Genetics gets a $4 million up-front fee and is eligible to receive milestone payments as Millennium develops an ADC product targeting an antigen expressed on solid tumors.
Cambridge Major Laboratories, based in Wisconsin, and the British firm Novacta Biosystems, an offshoot of GlaxoSmithKline, will collaborate in process development, custom synthesis, and biocatalysis. Novacta will develop biocatalytic approaches to target chiral intermediates, which CML will then scale up in its facilities in the Netherlands.
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