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Business

Business Roundup

November 18, 2013 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 91, ISSUE 46

Indorama will suspend production at a 168,000-metric-ton-per-year polyethylene terephthalate resin plant in England by the end of March. Indorama, which bought the unit from Eastman Chemical in 2008, says it may restart the plant in about two years depending on market conditions.

Eastman Chemical has appointed Stephen G. Crawford chief technology officer as of Jan. 1, 2014. He succeeds Gregory W. Nelson, who will retire on March 1 after five years in the position. Crawford is now vice president responsible for technology development in areas including coatings, adhesives, and plasticizers.

Lenzing, a maker of cellulosic fibers, will cut 600 jobs because of difficult market conditions. About two-thirds of the cuts will come at the firm’s main production site in Lenzing, Austria.

Petronas and Versalis, the chemical arm of Italy’s oil giant Eni, agreed to form a joint venture that will make elastomers within a refinery and petrochemical complex Petronas is planning in Pengerang, Malaysia. Petronas will own 60% of the venture and Versalis will own the remainder. The plants will use Versalis’s technology.

Agilent is collaborating with Baylor College of Medicine’s Medical Genetics Laboratories to offer researchers comparative genomics hybridization microarrays. Agilent says the microarrays will enable new discoveries in cancer and cytogenetics research.

Novartis is selling its blood transfusion diagnostics unit to the Spanish health care firm Grifols for $1.7 billion. Novartis acquired the unit, which had 2012 sales of $565 million, through its 2006 purchase of Chiron. It will keep a companion diagnostics unit that is integrated into its pharmaceuticals business.

Merck Serono will pay Beijing-based biotech BeiGene up to $232 million for access to a cancer drug in preclinical development. BeiGene-290 blocks poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase, an enzyme involved in DNA repair. This marks the second deal between the companies this year; Merck licensed the BRAF inhibitor BGB-283 in the earlier pact.

Roche and Tübingen, Germany-based Immatics Biotechnologies have teamed to develop tumor-associated peptide cancer vaccines and cancer immunotherapies. In exchange for a $17 million up-front payment, Roche gains the rights to IMA942, a gastric cancer vaccine in Phase I studies.

Evonik Industries is expanding capacity for formulating and supplying clinical trial quantities of highly potent pharmaceuticals. It has invested in high-containment facilities and upgraded labs in Darmstadt, Germany, and Birmingham, Ala.

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