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Business Roundup

June 15, 2015 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 93, Issue 24

Sumitomo Chemical will more than double its capacity to produce lithium-ion battery separators by expanding its Ohe Works in Niihama, Japan, and building a new plant in South Korea. Composed of aramid on a polyolefin substrate, the separators are used in Panasonic batteries.

Univar, a chemical distributor, has filed with the Security & Exchange Commission for an initial public offering of 20 million shares to raise about $400 million. The money will be used to pay down debt and for general corporate purposes.

Omnova Solutions is reducing its styrene-butadiene latex capacity in a bid to raise plant operating rates to more than 90% from 62% today. Affected facilities are in Calhoun, Ga., and Mogadore, Ohio. The firm expects to eventually save up to $12 million per year.

Goodyear Tire & Rubber will obtain silica derived from rice husk ash from China’s Yihai Food & Oil Industry. Goodyear says it will use the reinforcing agent in place of synthetic silica in a consumer tire that it will manufacture in Pulandian, China, and sell in China.

Amyris has agreed to supply a biobased active pharmaceutical ingredient starting material to India’s Ipca Laboratories. In February, Amyris launched µPharm, a discovery and production platform to supply hard-to-source or -synthesize compounds.

Spero Therapeutics, a biotech firm launched last year to develop compounds to treat bacterial infections, has raised $30 million in its first round of financing. Proceeds will support development of “potentiators,” molecules that help antibiotics kill gram-negative bacteria by weakening their outer membrane.

Twist Bioscience has raised $37 million in a third round of venture capital funding led by the gene-sequencing firm Illumina. Twist—which has raised a total of $82 million—has developed a method of mass-producing synthetic genes on silicon wafers.

AstraZeneca’s chief medical officer and head of development, Briggs Morrison, has left the firm. Elisabeth Björk, who oversees development of drugs for cardiovascular and metabolic diseases, will take over his CMO role until a permanent replacement is found. Morrison will become the CEO of a small, privately held pharmaceutical company.

Takeda Pharmaceutical will consolidate its U.S. vaccines business at a site in the Boston-Cambridge, Mass., area. The Japanese firm will close vaccines-related sites in Bozeman, Mont.; Madison, Wis.; and Fort Collins, Colo. The moves are set to be complete by mid-2017.



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