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Business Roundup

April 28, 2014 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 92, Issue 17

BASF will invest up to $8 million this year to enhance its facilities in Mortara, Italy, for making photoinitiators, materials used to speed up the drying of coatings and inks in the presence of ultraviolet light. The photoinitiator plant in Mortara is one of the largest in the world, BASF says.

Fontarome Chemical has been acquired in a bankruptcy-court sale by the investment group SFM Investments. Milwaukee-based Fontarome, a maker of active ingredients for pharmaceuticals, flavors, and fragrances, entered receivership in January.

Meredian, a privately held biopolymer maker, says it has successfully piloted production of polyhydroxyalkanoate in collaboration with the fermentation specialist Tate & Lyle. The firm says the pilot campaign “opens the door for mass production of completely biodegradable plastics on a commercial scale.”

Peter Greven, an oleochemical producer based in Germany, is expanding its metallic stearates and oleates capacity with a new plant in Venlo, the Netherlands. The new facility will meet growing demand for the products across the drug, food, feed, and cosmetics industries, the firm says.

Versalis, the chemicals arm of Italian energy firm Eni, plans to increase capacity for ethylene-propylene rubber at its site in Ferrara, Italy. The expansion, which will raise capacity to 130,000 metric tons per year, is set to be completed in the second half of 2016.

CEM, a microwave laboratory instrument maker, has licensed a line of resins that can be used to synthesize high-purity peptides from Cheshire, England-based SpheriTech. CEM plans to manufacture the SpheriTide resins at its Matthews, N.C., headquarters.

Aastrom Biosciences, an Ann Arbor, Mich.-based specialist in multicellular therapies for cardiovascular disease, has agreed to acquire Sanofi’s cell therapy and regenerative medicine business for $6.5 million. Aastrom will get rights to three products as well as production centers in the U.S. and Denmark.

Epizyme has gained a $4 million milestone payment from GlaxoSmithKline, which has chosen a lead candidate against a histone methyltransferase (HMT) target. In 2011, GSK paid $20 million up front to work with Epizyme on small molecules that block HMT, a class of epigenetic enzymes implicated in cancer. The candidate is the third to emerge from the ­collaboration.

Samsung BioLogics will manufacture several biologic drugs for Bristol-Myers Squibb under an expanded agreement between the two firms. They joined in July 2013 to manufacture a single antibody in development to treat cancer.



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