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Business Roundup

February 6, 2012 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 90, Issue 6

Emerald Performance Materials’ Kalama Chemical unit has started construction, which it expects to complete later this year, of a glycol dibenzoate ester plasticizer plant at its Rotterdam, the Netherlands, facility. Emerald purchased the site from DSM in 2010.

Toyo Engineering will build a $300 million caprolactam plant for a 60-40 joint venture of DSM and Sinopec in Nanjing, China. The plant will have a production capacity of 200,000 metric tons per year, thus doubling capacity at the site.

BASF Venture Capital is investing $5 million in Solidia Technologies as part of that firm’s $27 million venture capital financing round. The Piscataway, N.J.-based start-up has developed a technology to make cement that consumes CO2 as a reactant.

Nippon Shokubai plans to add a 30,000-metric-ton-per-year superabsorbent polymers unit to its facility in Zhangjiagang, China, doubling capacity at the site. The firm expects to complete the $56 million project in 2014.

Tessenderlo is buying the crop protection assets of Bayer CropScience’s carbaryl business. Tessenderlo says the unit will add $19 million to its annual revenues.

Verenium will license one of its proprietary enzymes to Tate & Lyle for the development of novel food ingredients. Verenium will receive $1.5 million in near-term milestone payments, revenues from enzyme product sales, and royalties.

DuPont’s Pioneer Hi-Bred seed business and gene synthesis firm OligoCo will collaborate on new synthetic biology techniques to produce long DNA segments, known as oligonucleotides. The researchers will use the fragments to reliably transcribe genetic information into full-length genes for improved crops.

Vanquish Oncology has been spun off of the labs of University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, chemistry professor Paul Hergenrother. Founded by IllinoisVentures, Level 5 Partners, and inventors from the university, the biotech firm is developing small molecules targeting procaspase-3, a cellular enzyme that when turned on leads to cancer cell death.

Pfizer will use Emeryville, Calif.-based KineMed’s proteomics technology platform to explore how potential drug candidates, particularly those for type 2 diabetes, impact metabolic pathways. KineMed uses mass spectrometry to track stable isotopes to determine the rate of change in metabolic pathways.

Genentech and Lexington, Mass.-based biotech firm Curis have received FDA’s green light to market Erivedge, a once-daily pill for the treatment of advanced basal cell carcinoma. Erivedge is the first drug to be approved to treat advanced forms of this most common skin cancer.



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