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Business Roundup

December 12, 2019 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 97, Issue 48


Wacker Chemie has written off $830 million from the value of its polysilicon facilities because of depressed prices for the material, used in solar panels. The German firm blames the situation on subsidized Chinese producers that flood the polysilicon market with product.

Evonik Industries plans to increase capacity for sodium methylate at its plant in Rosario, Argentina, to 90,000 metric tons per year by 2021. The 50% increase will satisfy growing South American demand for the biodiesel catalyst, the firm says.

Pilot Chemical has purchased Órgano Síntesis, a Mexican producer of chemicals for industries including personal care, cleaning, and disinfection. Ohio-based Pilot says the 100-employee Mexican firm will extend its presence in the Latin American market.

Standard Lithium has completed a lithium chloride demonstration plant at Lanxess’s bromine facility in El Dorado, Arkansas. Standard says its brine extraction technique is more environmentally friendly than current evaporation methods.

Circulate Capital has raised $106 million for an investment fund dedicated to projects that combat plastic waste in Asia. Investors include Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Procter & Gamble, Danone, Unilever, Dow, and Chevron Phillips Chemical. Circulate says it has identified 200 potential projects.

Limelight Bio, a spin-off from the University of Pennsylvania, has launched with $75 million and eight gene therapy programs, including ones for eye, ear, and neurological diseases. One of Limelight’s cofounders, Jean Bennett, developed the gene therapy that would later become known as Luxturna and is now sold by Spark Therapeutics.


Indorama has acquired the polyethylene terephthalate recycler Green Fiber International. The company runs a plant in California that can make 40,000 metric tons of recycled PET per year, including products suitable for food-contact applications.

Bayer has struck a $5 million partnership with the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia to develop small-molecule drugs for hemophilia A and B. Bayer already sells a biologic blood-clotting-factor therapy for hemophilia A and is developing a gene therapy.


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