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Business Roundup

May 21, 2012 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 90, ISSUE 21

LSB Industries has shut down its El Dorado, Ark., facility after a reactor exploded, damaging the concentrated nitric acid plant and nearby equipment. No one was hurt. The firm has not yet estimated the extent of the damage nor said when the facility will restart.

Sasol intends to expand capacity of its ultra-high-purity aluminas business by 3,000 metric tons per year. The company says it will immediately start construction at its Brunsbuettel, Germany, plant, where it makes precursors that are upgraded at a facility in Tucson. The high-purity alumina products are used to grow single-crystal sapphires, which are in high demand for light-emitting-diode applications.

Dynea has sold its Finnish overlays business to Surfactor Finland. The business runs a plant in Kitee, Finland, and makes phenolic surface films for wood panels. It had sales of about $22 million in 2011.

BASF will work with the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation & Nuclear Safety and the German Federal Institute for Occupational Safety & Health to study the effects of nanoparticles on the lungs. The four-year project will have $6.4 million in funding and, the partners say, will be the first to determine the chronic effects of nanomaterials in low doses.

Dow Electronic Materials has acquired Lightscape Materials, a developer of specialty phosphors for systems based on light-emitting diodes, from investors including SRI International and South Korean lighting and rechargeable battery maker Wisepower. Dow says the acquisition will enable customers to make better and more reliable LEDs.

Syngenta has inked a licensing and research deal with Belgian agricultural biotechnology firm Devgen for RNAi technology to control insect pests. Syngenta will pay Devgen $28 million for technology access, $6 million per year for R&D expenses, and royalties on sales of products developed.

Merck KGaA says Canadian Solar is using its Isishape etching paste in its mass-produced high-efficiency solar cells. As a result of joint research and development work, the etching paste helped increase the efficiency of P-type monocrystalline solar cells to 20%.

Maxygen says it will receive a $30 million payment from Bayer HealthCare in connection with Bayer’s clinical development of a recombinant factor VIIa product candidate for hemophilia. Maxygen sold the candidate to Bayer, along with other hematology assets, for about $90 million in 2008.

Lonza and Avalanche Biotechnologies have formed a manufacturing collaboration to make available adeno-associated viral vectors for gene therapy. The technology holds promise for treatment of retinal disorders, hemophilia B, congestive heart failure, and other diseases.

Nitto Denko has acquired the Active TTS technology of Altea Therapeutics, a developer of dermal patches. Japan’s Nitto, which is a major supplier of patches, says the acquisition will enable it to develop transdermal delivery systems for drugs that so far cannot be absorbed through the skin.



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