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Business Roundup

September 21, 2009 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 87, Issue 38

LyondellBasell will close its low-density polyethylene plant in Carrington, England, by the end of the year. The plant, with 185,000 metric tons of annual capacity, is one of the company’s smallest LDPE units. Some 50 employees will be affected by the closure.

International Specialty Products has licensed from BASF the manufacturing and worldwide marketing rights for hydroxyphenyltriazine, a broad-spectrum UV filter for use in skin care formulations. ISP will market the sunscreen in Europe, where it is already approved, and plans to sell it in the U.S. if the ingredient receives FDA approval.

Solutia is installing a manufacturing line at its Ghent, Belgium, plant to make 3.2-meter-wide polyvinyl butyral acoustic sheet. The company expects strong growth for the sheet as an interlayer in architectural glass in Europe and Asia.

Sumitomo Metal Mining and BASF have offered to buy for a total of $90 million the shares they do not own in N. E. Chemcat, a Japanese producer of precious-metal catalysts. Sumitomo and BASF each already own 42% of the firm. Their offer represents a premium of 75% over the average price of Chemcat’s shares over the previous three months.

AstraZeneca is shedding 113 jobs at its Westborough, Mass., manufacturing facility because of declining demand for its inhaled asthma drug Pulmicort. Teva Pharmaceuticals launched a generic version of Pulmicort late last year despite a pending patent infringement case. AstraZeneca subsequently signed a pact with Par Pharmaceuticals to sell an “authorized generic” version of the drug.

Mascoma will work with Chevron Technology Ventures to wring more energy from biofuel feedstocks. CTV will supply lignocellulose feedstocks to Mascoma, which will convert the cellulosic sugars to ethanol and return the lignin by-product to CTV. Chevron wants to use the lignin to produce liquid fuels.

Dionex has agreed to acquire three HPLC detector products from ESA Biosciences, a subsidiary of Magellan Biosciences. Dionex, a liquid-chromatography company, says the deal will generate additional revenue of up to $15 million per year.

Bristol-Myers Squibb is selling its over-the-counter drug business in Asia, excluding China and Japan, to Japan’s Taisho Pharmaceutical for $310 million. Bristol-Myers Squibb Japan sold its OTC business to Japan’s Lion Corp. in 2007.

AgraQuest will supply Alpharma Animal Health with a proprietary strain of Bacillus subtilis for a new poultry nutrition product being developed by Alpharma. AgraQuest, a biopesticide firm, says the deal marks a step outside its traditional agrochemical base.

Abiant, an imaging agent developer, has won a $200,000 grant from the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation to develop an imaging diagnostic agent for Alzheimer’s disease. Abiant’s products are designed to work with positron emission tomographic images of the brain.



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