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Business Roundup

June 23, 2014 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 92, Issue 25

Air Products & Chemicals and Matheson Tri-Gas have begun production at a joint-venture helium facility near Big Piney, Wyo. The partners say the plant will provide additional helium at a time of shortage for the industry.

Asahi Kasei plans to build a plant in Chiba, Japan, for AZP, a new transparent polymer enabling clearer images on TVs, smartphones, and other displays now made with glass. Set to open by March 2015, the plant will make several thousand metric tons annually of the polymer, which Asahi says is based on a novel molecular design.

Aspen Aerogels has made an initial public offering of stock at $11.00 per share. The aerogel producer raised $82.5 million, which it intends to spend on a third production line at its facility in East Providence, R.I. Aspen had expected to raise $14.00 to $16.00 per share.

Saudi Basic Industries says it now has more than 10,000 patents either issued or pending approval, making it the largest owner of intellectual property in the Middle East. Last year, the chemical firm says, it filed applications for a record 373 patents, a level it expects to surpass this year.

Calysta, a gas-to-liquids biotech firm, and biobased plastics partner NatureWorks say they have successfully demonstrated a methane-to-lactic acid fermentation process at lab scale. The partners aim to produce lower-cost polylactic acid polymers and diversify NatureWorks’ feedstock portfolio.

Celgene has exercised an option to license Agios Pharmaceuticals’ AG-221, a potential treatment for acute myeloid leukemia and other blood diseases that has completed Phase I clinical trials. AG-221 is a small molecule that works by inhibiting the mutant IDH2 protein.

X-Chem, a biotech firm in Waltham, Mass., will work with Pfizer to apply its DNA-encoded small-molecule lead discovery technology and compound library to inflammatory and orphan disease research. Pfizer has an exclusive option to license any leads generated in the course of the collaboration.

Selecta Biosciences has received a $1.25 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to develop a vaccine for malaria. The firm also was awarded $8.1 million from NIH for a vaccine that reduces nicotine dependence. Both projects involve Selecta’s synthetic vaccine particle technology.



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