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Business Roundup

June 29, 2015 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 93, Issue 26

Shell Chemicals has closed on its purchase of a site in Monaca, Pa. where it intends to build an ethylene cracker complex that will use local shale natural gas. Separately, the State of Pennsylvania has granted air permits for the plant.

Huntsman Corp. has acquired Tecnoelastomeri, an Italian maker of methylene diphenyl diisocyanate-based hot-cast elastomer systems and processing machines. Huntsman, an MDI producer, says Tecnoelastomeri, which had sales of $12 million last year, will strengthen its downstream operations.

EM.tec Design, a German automotive finishes firm, has become the first European company to take out a license for Valure, a synthetic leather from BASF. EM.tec will build a plant with an annual capacity for 1.5 million m2 of the leather in Bingen, Germany.

Merck KGaA will spend $33 million to build a facility in Darmstadt, Germany, for high-purity organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs). The plant, which will be about 2,000 m2, is due to open in July 2016. OLEDs have the potential to be the technology of the future for displays and lighting, Merck says.

Sekisui Chemical will acquire a 63% stake in Enax, a Japanese company it has been collaborating with since 2010 to develop lithium-ion batteries. Formed in 1996, Enax employs about 50 people.

ICL, the Israeli chemical maker, has extended its advanced materials research and licensing agreements with Yissum, the technology transfer arm of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. The new agreement covers 3-D printing, an invention in solar energy, and other technologies.

Shin-Etsu Chemical will spend $56 million to build a photomask blanks facility in Echizen, Japan. The company already produces the materials in Niigata, Japan. Photomask blanks are the base of the photomasks used in the lithographic patterning of semiconductor circuits.

Scinopharm, a Taiwanese pharmaceutical ingredients maker, will collaborate with China’s Raffles PharmaTech in the production of generic celecoxib for export to the U.S. Patent protection on the painkiller, marketed by Pfizer under the name Celebrex, ended last year.

SQZ Biotech has raised $5 million in an initial round of venture capital funding. The Boston firm is based on microfluidic technology developed by MIT professors, including chemical engineer Robert Langer, for delivering materials into cells.



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