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Business Roundup

August 17, 2009 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 87, Issue 33

Air Products & Chemicals will receive more than $1.5 million in recovery act funding from the Department of Energy to develop materials for thin-film photovoltaics. The company will focus on a radio-frequency-plasma chemical vapor deposition process that it says could save manufacturers 10 cents per watt.

Saint-Gobain, a French construction materials maker, will acquire Shell’s share of their solar joint venture, Avancis, as part of a strategy to expand its solar business. Avancis develops technology for manufacturing thin-film copper-indium-selenide photovoltaic modules. It also operates a plant in Torgau, Germany.

Cray Valley, a resins specialist owned by energy firm Total, has moved manufacturing of its “W” series pure monomer hydrocarbon resins from Carling, France, to Channelview, Texas. The Carling site will continue to make other hydrocarbon resins, which are used to make adhesives, coatings, inks, and elastomers.

Lanxess is working with Swedish specialized oils firm Nynas to replace the distillate aromatic extract (DAE) oils used in rubber processing. High in polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, DAE oils are believed to harm human health and the environment. They will be banned in tires in Europe and Japan by 2010. Nynas will help Lanxess switch to naphthenic oils.

Hexion Specialty Chemicals will collaborate with natural composites developer Tekle Technical Services on composite panels and other building products that incorporate agricultural, forest, and municipal waste. Hexion will support the research through its forest products R&D center in Edmonton, Alberta.

Novartis has acquired stem cell technology from The Woodlands, Texas-based Opexa Therapeutics. Currently in preclinical development, Opexa’s technique involves making monocyte-derived stem cells from a patient’s own blood, growing the cell line, and giving the cells back to the patient as a therapeutic. Opexa gains a $4 million fee and could be awarded another $50 million in milestone payments.

Inovio Biomedical will work with NIH’s Vaccine Research Center to advance the company’s DNA vaccines targeting the H1N1 swine flu. Inovio’s vaccines use electroporation to deliver influenza-gene-containing plasmids that, once in the body, instigate an immune response.

Nycomed will receive $100 million plus milestones and royalties from Forest Laboratories in exchange for rights to commercialize Daxas in the U.S. for the treatment of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Nycomed filed a New Drug Application for Daxas, an orally administered phosphodiesterase 4 enzyme inhibitor, with FDA in July.



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