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Business Roundup

June 14, 2010 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 88, Issue 24

La Seda de Barcelona, an embattled Spanish polyethylene terephthalate maker, is selling an ethylene oxide plant in Tarragona, Spain, for $28 million to American Industrial Acquisition, a New York City-based holding company that specializes in turning around distressed businesses. The plant employs 120 workers and has a capacity of 130,000 metric tons of ethylene oxide.

Air Products & Chemicals and Technip are teaming up to build a steam methane reformer to produce hydrogen and synthesis gas for PetroChina’s Sichuan refinery and ethylene complex. To be completed in early 2012, the reformer will have a capacity of 90 million standard cu ft per day.

Virent Energy Systems, a renewable-fuel start-up, has raised $46.4 million in a third round of venture funding led by Royal Dutch Shell and Cargill. Virent’s technology uses solid-state catalysts to transform plant sugars directly into gasoline and diesel fuel.

Albemarle will build a lab in Louvain la Neuve, Belgium, that can produce pharmaceutical, agricultural, and specialty chemicals in kilogram quantities. Expected to open in the third quarter with reactors of up to 50-L in size, the lab is intended to serve European customers of Albemarle’s fine chemistry services business.

Evonik Industries has acquired the precious-metal powder catalyst business of Ravindra Heraeus, a joint venture between India’s Ravindra Choksi and Germany’s Heraeus. The Ravindra Heraeus plant in Udaipur, India, will produce catalysts and recycle used catalysts for Evonik’s Indian customers.

Myriad Pharmaceuticals has cut 21 employees and ended research in HIV to preserve cash beyond 2013. The company, to be renamed Myrexis in July, will focus its efforts on its oncology pipeline.

RXi Pharmaceuticals and Philips Electronics will combine their technologies to improve the delivery of RNA-interference-based therapeutics. The idea is to use Philips’ ultrasound technology—microbubbles that burst when ultrasonic pulses are applied—to help release RXi’s self-delivering RNA molecules at tissues of interest.



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