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Business Roundup

August 22, 2011 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 89, Issue 34

BASF is increasing capacity for copper and copper-chrome catalysts through a round of capital investment. The base-metal catalysts are used mainly in petrochemical and oleochemical processing, the company says.

Dow Chemical is challenging architecture, design, and engineering students and professionals to come up with innovative designs for near-zero-energy multifamily dwellings. The challenge, being hosted at, seeks projects incorporating active and passive solar technologies, among other construction-related energy-saving features.

Evonik Industries has signed agreements on a previously proposed superabsorbent polymers plant to be built by late 2013 in Al Jubail, Saudi Arabia. The 80,000-metric-ton-per-year facility, a joint venture with Saudi Acrylic Acid Co., will get acrylic acid feedstock from an adjacent Dow Chemical joint venture.

Orica’s fertilizer plant on Australia’s Kooragang Island released a “small amount” of sodium chromate, some of which descended on an adjacent neighborhood. The firm says the risk to residents is low and that it will clean up all affected properties.

GE Healthcare has agreed to acquire PAA Laboratories, a British developer and supplier of cell culture media for biomedical research and manufacturing. GE says the purchase will add “upstream” capabilities to its expertise in the “downstream” processes of biopharmaceutical manufacturing.

Amyris, a biobased materials firm, has commissioned its third plant—and its first in the U.S.—for the production of farnesene, a chemical intermediate. The facility, owned by Tate & Lyle, is in Decatur, Ill. Amyris’ other production locations are in Brazil and Spain.

Pfizer and Qiagen will collaborate to develop a companion diagnostic test for use with Pfizer’s dacomitinib, which is an oral EGFR, HER-2, and HER-4 inhibitor in Phase III trials to treat lung cancer. Qiagen will develop an assay to detect mutations of the KRAS gene, which tend to render EGFR inhibitors ineffective. The test will help to find the appropriate patients.

Human Genome Sciences will use 4-Antibody’s retroviral B lymphocyte display technology to discover fully human therapeutic antibodies against targets chosen by HGS. The companies will collaborate on two projects.



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