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Business Roundup

June 22, 2009 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 87, Issue 25

Arkema has reached an agreement to sell its aluminum chloride business, including its European customer list and its India-based Arcil affiliate, to Gulbrandsen Chemicals. The buyer is a U.S.-based maker of aluminum chloride and other catalysts; it has plants in the U.S. and India. Arkema has annual aluminum chloride sales of $33 million.

Air Liquide will spend $35 million in Chengdu, in southwest China, to build facilities supplying nitrogen, oxygen, hydrogen, argon, and specialty gases to manufacturers of thin-film transistor liquid-crystal displays. The Chinese firms Beijing Oriental Electronics Technology and Tianma Microelectronics are both building display plants in Chengdu.

Evonik Industries will expand its global capacity for the animal feed additive dl-methionine to 430,000 metric tons per year in stages between 2011 and 2013. Last fall, the firm completed an expansion in Antwerp, Belgium, that boosted capacity to 350,000 metric tons.

Strem Chemicals will distribute gold catalysts developed by Mintek, South Africa's national mineral research organization. Strem says Mintek's heterogenous catalysts complement its current homogeneous gold catalyst line.

Adimab has reached deals with Merck & Co. and Roche under which the drug giants will use Adimab's yeast-based antibody discovery technique to identify therapeutic antibodies. The agreements coincide with the launch of the technology by New Hampshire-based Adimab.

GlaxoSmithKline and Synta Pharmaceuticals will end their collaboration on the melanoma treatment elesclomol. In late February, Synta suspended a Phase III clinical trial due to safety concerns and subsequently cut 40% of its workforce. Rights will revert to Synta, which will pay GSK royalties on any future elesclomol sales.

Wayne State University and Michigan Technology & Research Institute are forming a drug development company to commercialize molecules discovered in the lab of Wayne State professor Aloke K. Dutta. Former Pfizer scientists will be involved in the project, which targets triple-uptake inhibitors for depression.

Ipsen, a Paris-based drugmaker, has entered an R&D and marketing agreement with Pharnext, a French biotech firm founded in 2007. Ipsen has acquired an option, worth up to $127 million, on Pharnext's research into the neuromuscular ailment called Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease.

Tibotec, a Johnson & Johnson subsidiary, will collaborate with the Global Alliance for TB Drug Development to develop Tibotec's TMC207, which is called the first TB drug with a new mechanism of action in 40 years. It is now in Phase II clinical trials.



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