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Business Roundup

December 13, 2010 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 88, Issue 50

Sasol is moving ahead in Lake Charles, La., with what it calls the world’s first ethylene tetramerization facility. To open in mid-2013, the plant will be capable of making more than 100,000 metric tons per year of 1-octene and 1-hexene, α-olefins used as comonomers in linear low-density polyethylene.

PolyOne has sold its 50% interest in BayOne Urethane Systems, a U.S. and Canadian polyurethane systems venture formed in 2003, to partner Bayer MaterialScience. PolyOne says the sale allows it to focus on assets that it owns and controls. Bayer says full control will allow it to continue to grow in the NAFTA region.

Braskem has named Carlos Fadigas as its CEO. He replaces Bernardo Gradin, who has held the position since 2008. As Braskem’s chief financial officer, Fadigas helped negotiate the acquisition of Sunoco Chemicals.

Sigma-Aldrich’s SAFC Hitech unit will build a dedicated facility in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, for transfilling and production of light-emitting-diode and silicon semiconductor precursors. The firm notes that the investment follows plans to expand capacity for the LED precursor trimethylgallium in Bromborough, England.

Eastman Kodak is forming the Innovation & Materials Science Institute, which it calls “a consortium of cross-disciplinary thought leaders in science, business, government, and education.” Among other things, IMSI seeks to form links between established businesses and start-ups, such as Kodak’s scale-up pact with CO2-based polymer start-up Novomer.

LS9, a synthetic biology firm pursuing renewable fuels and chemicals, has named Edward J. Dineen as president and CEO. Dineen was most recently the chief operating officer of LyondellBasell Industries.

Merck & Co. is buying SmartCells, a privately held firm developing a glucose-responsive insulin formulation, for an undisclosed sum. SmartCells investors could receive $500 million in payments if its diabetes product is commercialized. SmartCells’ technology, developed at MIT by Todd Zion, allows insulin to be released only within a specific range of blood glucose concentration.

Dicerna Pharmaceuticals and Kyowa Hakko Kirin have expanded an RNAi research collaboration to include immunology and inflammation. In January, Kyowa Hakko signed a deal worth up to $1.4 billion to use Dicerna’s RNAi delivery system to develop oncology treatments. Dicerna scores an undisclosed cash payment under the expanded pact.

Forest Laboratories and Gruenenthal have entered a development and commercialization deal for a small-molecule drug, GRT 6005, and its follow-on compound GRT 6006. Discovered by Gruenenthal, GRT 6005 is in Phase II clinical studies for treating moderate to severe chronic pain.



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