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Business Roundup

May 16, 2016 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 94, Issue 20

Ferro says its board is exploring “possible strategic alternatives for the company to enhance shareholder value.” In March, the investment firm and Ferro shareholder FrontFour Capital urged the Cleveland-based company to consider strategic alternatives, including selling itself.

DyStar has acquired five U.S. specialty chemical plants from Emerald Performance Materials. DyStar, a maker of colorants and auxiliaries, will sell two of the acquired plants to a subsidiary of China’s Sinochem. Emerald will be left with four facilities.

Ineos has agreed to sell its expandable polystyrene business to the Polish rubber and polystyrene producer Synthos for $91 million. The business has about 250 employees and 310,000 metric tons per year of capacity—20% of Europe’s total—serving the construction and packaging industries.

Rennovia, a biobased chemicals firm pursuing adipic acid, has signed a development and licensing agreement with the pulp and paper maker Stora Enso. Stora Enso says the agreement will help it maximize the value it extracts from wood and other lignocellulosic biomass.

Labworks, a new company, has acquired PerkinElmer’s Labworks laboratory information management system. Labworks CEO Lane Franks says he has increased the size of the support and engineering teams dedicated to the software and formed a new management team.

Aptinyx, a small-molecule biotech firm, has raised $65 million in a first round of funding to support initial clinical studies for its neurologic drug candidate, a modulator of the N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) receptor. Backers include New Leaf Venture Partners and Frazier Healthcare Partners.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will give $38 million to Takeda Pharmaceutical to develop polio vaccines for developing countries. Takeda has agreed to produce at least 50 million doses at its plant in Hikari, Japan, and supply them to countries supported by Gavi, a vaccine distribution nonprofit.

RXi Pharmaceuticals, a biotech firm developing RNAi-based therapeutics, is exploring strategic options, including a potential merger. From its high of close to $100 per share in 2013, the firm’s stock price has dropped to just above $2.00. Its lead drug, RXI-109, is being tested for the reduction of dermal fibrosis.



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