Issue Date: August 24, 2009
Novomer, a Boston-based company developing routes to turn carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide into polymers and chemicals, netted $14 million in a venture-capital-financing round led by OVP Venture Partners. Novomer, founded on technology developed by Cornell University professor Geoffrey W. Coates, has raised $21 million in total.
LyondellBasell Industries will restart a propylene oxide/styrene plant in Channelview, Texas, that has been off-line since December because of the poor economy. The company says demand for the plant's products have improved. LyondellBasell's U.S. subsidiaries filed for bankruptcy in January.
Univation Technologies plans to construct a plant to make high- and linear low-density polyethylene catalysts in Zhangjiagang, China, by 2011. The polyethylene process licensing firm has 20 client-owned plants either in operation or under construction in the country.
W.R. Grace has opened a construction chemicals plant in Chennai, India. The plant is now manufacturing cement additives and will soon begin making concrete admixtures. Grace calls India one of the world's largest cement-producing nations.
Shin-Etsu Chemical's Portuguese affiliate Cires has become a wholly owned subsidiary of the Japanese polyvinyl chloride producer after Ineos, Mitsui, and Portuguese shareholders all agreed to sell their shares to Shin-Etsu (C&EN, Dec. 15, 2008, page 16). With annual sales of $230 million, Cires operates 200,000 metric tons of PVC capacity.
InnoCentive, a forum in which researchers can receive financial rewards for providing answers to scientific challenges, has raised $7.3 million from existing and new investors. It will use the money to expand its marketing efforts and product development, as well as to open an office in Europe.
PerkinElmer has inked an exclusive licensing agreement with Max Planck Innovation, the technology-transfer arm of the Max Planck Society, in Munich, Germany, for silicon photomultiplier (SiPM) technology used in photon detection applications. SiPM offers high detection efficiency, short response time, and low power consumption, according to the Waltham, Mass.-based instrument firm.
IBM and California Institute of Technology scientists have developed a new technique to position self-assembled DNA shapes on surfaces, such as silicon, that are compatible with current semiconductor manufacturing equipment. IBM says the DNA can be a scaffold for assembly of computer chip components such as nanowires and carbon nanotubes.
Transcept Pharmaceuticals will reduce its workforce by about 30%, to 25 employees. The company will eliminate positions that are nonessential after its recent partnership with Purdue Pharmaceuticals and the development of its insomnia drug, Intermezzo, for which the firm will submit a New Drug Application later this year, according to CEO Glenn A. Oclassen.
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