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Business Roundup

April 22, 2013 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 91, Issue 16

Haltermann has acquired Petrochem Carless, a U.K. specialty refiner with sales last year of more than $500 million. Haltermann is owned by H.I.G Capital, which bought it in 2011 from Dow Chemical. H.I.G. will combine the two firms into a specialty hydrocarbon company called HCS Group that will have annual sales of about $850 million.

Asahi Kasei will increase hexamethylene diisocyanate production capacity at its site in Nantong, China, by 50% to 30,000 metric tons per year. The Japanese firm says the material is primarily used as a nonyellowing hardener for automotive coatings.

Lanxess has completed construction of a $40 million leather chemicals plant in Changzhou, China. The company says the plant, with 50,000 metric tons of annual capacity, will serve the Chinese leather industry, which is the largest in the world.

Promega, a Madison, Wis.-based biotech firm, has joined with BASF to develop an alternative to animal studies for detecting the allergenic potential of substances. Thanks to a newly developed cell line, the reaction of skin to allergenic substances can now be determined in a test tube, BASF says.

LDK Solar, a solar-cell and module maker based in China and California, has failed to make full payments on bonds worth $23.8 million. Instead, the firm is making partial payments and negotiating loans with its creditors to stave off bankruptcy. In March, another Chinese firm, Suntech Power, defaulted on bonds worth $541 million.

Bruker has launched a nitrogen-free NMR magnet system that features fully integrated helium reliquefaction. By obviating the need for helium refills, the new Ascend Aeon 600 and 700 magnets free users from rising helium costs and concerns about helium shortages, the company says.

GranBio, a Brazilian biofuels firm, has taken a 25% stake in Atlanta-based American Process Inc., which offers technology for making low-cost sugars from cellulosic feedstocks. GranBio says the technology will allow it to move into biobased chemicals and become active in North America.

Bristol-Myers Squibb is paying the Danish biotech firm Santaris $10 million to discover and develop RNA-targeted medicines using Santaris’ locked nucleic acid drug platform. BMS will pay Santaris a further $90 million per product, plus royalties, if the firm meets certain milestones.

Pfenex, a San Diego-based developer of vaccines and biosimilars, has formed a joint venture with India’s Agila Biotech to develop, manufacture, and commercialize six biosimilar drugs. The partners’ lead product will be interferon beta-1b, a version of Bayer’s Betaseron multiple sclerosis therapy.



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