Issue Date: January 19, 2009
LyondellBasell Industries will restart its olefins complex in La Porte, Texas, by the end of January. The plant was idled in October 2008. The firm says demand for petrochemical derivatives is showing signs of improvement. It still has an idled olefins plant in Chocolate Bayou, Texas.
Ineos says a revision of plans for Norway's natural gas fields will allow it to expand its ethylene cracker in Rafnes, Norway. The British petrochemicals giant wants to add 100,000 metric tons of ethylene capacity to the 557,000-metric-ton-per-year cracker.
BASF will close its 23-year-old auto refinish paint plant in Belvidere, N.J., by December 2010. The firm says it would cost too much to make the plant competitive. About 112 jobs will be eliminated as a result.
The Medicines Co. will acquire Targanta Therapeutics for about $42 million. With the deal comes oritavancin, a semisynthetic lipoglycopeptide antibiotic in late-stage development to treat gram-positive infections. In December, FDA said an additional clinical trial was needed before it could approve the drug.
Novartis Option Fund has struck a licensing and option deal with Forma Therapeutics, a biotech firm recently started by scientists from the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard University. Forma could receive up to $200 million in up-front and milestone payments in exchange for developing inhibitors for a protein-protein interaction target relevant in cancer. Novartis Option Fund is also an investor in Forma.
Archer Daniels Midland and Igene Biotechnology have formed a joint venture, Naturxan, to make astaxanthin, a pigment used to color farm-raised salmon and other fish. The partners will install Igene's yeast-based fermentation technology at ADM's existing astaxanthin plant in Decatur, Ill.
Apitope Technology, in Bristol, England, has granted worldwide rights to Merck Serono for the early-clinical-stage peptide therapeutic ATX-MS-1467 to treat multiple sclerosis. Apitope is eligible to receive as much as $200 million in up-front, development, and commercialization milestone payments.
UCB Pharma has transferred its entire oncology portfolio of two small-molecule and three antibody programs to the German firm Wilex, in exchange for future payments and royalties. UCB will invest $13 million in Wilex, pay it $13 million for clinical development milestones, and retain rights to repurchase any of the programs.
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