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Business Roundup

October 8, 2012 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 90, ISSUE 41

Evonik Industries plans to expand its 1-butene capacity in Marl, Germany, by 75,000 metric tons per year, raising capacity to 310,000 metric tons. Start-up is scheduled for 2015. Demand for 1-butene, a comonomer used to produce polymers such as polyethylene, is growing by about 5% per year, the firm says.

AkzoNobel is expanding capacity for trimethyl­aluminum (TMA) and trimethyl­gallium (TMG) at its plant in Battleground, Texas, to keep pace with 20% annual growth for TMG in light-emitting diodes. The expansion of TMA, used to make TMG, will come onstream in 2013; a new TMG unit at the site will open in 2014.

Mitsubishi Gas Chemical will exit the coenzyme Q10 business, where it had been a player since 1980, by closing its 70-metric-ton-per-year plant in Niigata, Japan. MGC says the market for the nutritional supplement is oversupplied, and it sees no prospect for a return to profitability.

Ashland’s specialty ingredients business will open a pharmaceutical applications lab in Düsseldorf, Germany, in December. The lab will provide drug formulation technical support to European customers. It will also host applications training and technical seminars.

SAFC , a Sigma-Aldrich business, will add a powdered cell culture media facility to its Irvine, Scotland, site. Last year, the firm completed an expansion of its liquid cell culture capacity at the facility.

Azelis, a European chemical distributor, has picked industry veteran Hans-Joachim Müller, 53, as its new CEO. Until June, Müller was a board member at Clariant. Separately, Azelis has sold its composites distribution business to Velox, a German chemical distributor, for an undisclosed sum.

Cedarburg Hauser Pharmaceuticals has increased the capacity of its Grafton, Wis., active pharmaceutical ingredients plant by 50% in response to increased demand for contract manufacturing. The company also added a reactor and chiller to support cryogenic reactions and made other improvements to its facility.

Merck & Co. and the Belgian biotech firm Ablynx will develop antibody-based drugs targeting a voltage-gated ion channel. Ablynx gets roughly $11 million in up-front payment and research funding and could see an additional $575 million in payments as drug candidates move toward the market. No antibodies targeting ion channels are currently approved, the partners say.

Takeda Pharmaceutical will work with Advinus Therapeutics, an Indian contract research firm, in a three-year drug discovery collaboration. Advinus will get $36 million in guaranteed funding and $9 million in milestone payments for each candidate selected.



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