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Business Roundup

March 26, 2018 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 96, ISSUE 13


Solvay has agreed to sell its hydrofluoric acid plant in Porto Maghera, Italy, to Alkeemia, a subsidiary of Italy’s Fluorsid Group. Solvay uses hydrofluoric acid as a raw material for its specialty polymers.

Ube Industries will build a 1,500-metric-ton-per-year magnesium oxysulfate whisker plant in Thailand. The material, also known as MOS-HIGE, is a filler that reduces the weight of plastics used in cars. Ube already operates a 3,000-metric-ton-per-year whisker plant in Japan.

Frutarom Industries will purchase 70% of the Argentinian flavor and fragrances group Meroar for $11 million. Meroar, which had 2017 sales of $7 million and employs 40 people, is the Israeli firm’s second acquisition this year.

BASF is collaborating with HitGen on research to identify small-molecule leads for agrochemical targets. HitGen tags billions of small molecules and macrocyclic compounds with DNA to make them easier to identify during screening.

Joyn Bio is the name of the new joint venture between Bayer and synthetic biology start-up Ginkgo Bioworks. The company, which launched in September 2017 with $100 million from the founding firms and Viking Global Partners, will develop plant symbiotic microbes that can fix nitrogen from the air.

Dow AgroSciences has licensed its cell-free protein expression technology to Lenio­Bio, a start-up that plans to market the technology to drug developers. It allows protein chemists screening DNA libraries to produce proteins at higher yields compared with current methods.

Hitachi Chemical will ­produce clinical quantities of a new regenerative ­medicine treatment that Daiichi Sankyo will test on Japanese patients. Hitachi will carry out the production at a facility set to open next month in Yokohama City, Japan.

twoXAR, an artificial intelligence drug-discovery start-up, raised $10 million in series A funding from SoftBank Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz Bio Fund, and OS Fund. So far, twoXAR’s platform has identified drug candidates for liver cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, and type 2 diabetes.



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