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Business Roundup

December 24, 2012 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 90, Issue 52

BASF has started up a plant in Ludwigshafen, Germany, producing 24,000 metric tons per year of crystallized AH salt, an intermediate for making nylon 6,6. Unlike aqueous solutions of AH salt, the solid version can be shipped economically to distant markets including those in Asia, BASF says.

Asahi Glass has increased its stake in Kashima Chemical, a Japanese producer of the epoxy intermediate epichlorohydrin, to 79% by acquiring Adeka’s 40% stake in the company. Mitsubishi Chemical and Mitsubishi Corp. will remain minority shareholders.

Johnson Matthey will partner with the Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory in a five-year, $7 million effort to improve technology for converting biomass to fuels using pyrolysis. The research will focus on efficient catalysts that can make hydrocarbons from pyrolysis vapor.

Verdezyne, a renewable chemicals firm, has sold xylose isomerase technology to DuPont Industrial Biosciences. The patented technology increases speed and yield of fuel and chemical production from C5 sugars derived from biomass.

Proterro, a start-up firm making sugar for biobased fuels and chemicals, has raised $3.5 million in new funding from investors including existing investor Battelle Ventures. The firm also says the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office just issued it a patent covering the genetically engineered cyanobacteria it developed to make sugar from carbon dioxide.

SafeBridge Consultants, a toxicology and industrial hygiene firm, has been acquired by environmentally focused Trinity Consultants. SafeBridge will continue to support drug and fine chemicals industry customers in the handling of potent compounds in R&D and manufacturing.

The Royal Society of Chemistry has acquired the Merck Index from Merck & Co. The society will take over publishing the 120-year-old reference book with a revised and updated 15th edition, due out in April 2013.

GE Healthcare will supply Merck & Co. with the investigational positron emission tomography imaging agent [18F] flutemetamol for use in clinical studies of MK-8931, a Merck treatment for Alzheimer’s disease. The GE imaging agent will help find appropriate patients for clinical trials and be evaluated as a possible companion diagnostic to the drug.

Phenex Pharmaceuticals and Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen Biotech arm will work together to develop compounds targeting the nuclear hormone receptor RORγT, which plays a role in autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. In addition to an undisclosed up-front fee, Phenex could get up to $135 million in milestone payments, the firms say.



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