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Business Roundup

July 31, 2020 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 98, Issue 30


Lonza plans to sell its specialty ingredients business before the end of the year to focus on drug manufacturing, including of Moderna’s prospective COVID-19 vaccine. The segment, which Lonza began to carve out last year, includes consumer care, agriculture, coatings, and water treatment chemicals.

Fuzionaire, an alkali metal catalyst start-up based in California, will collaborate with ETH Zurich, to develop the firm’s potassium-based fuel desulfurization method. Chemist Anton Toutov discovered the process while in Robert H. Grubbs’s lab at the California Institute of Technology.

Volt Storage, a German start-up making vanadium redox flow batteries, has raised $7 million from sustainability investors Korys and EIT InnoEnergy, and others. The batteries, each the size of a small refrigerator, are used to store energy from home solar panels.

Wacker Chemie will spend a “mid-double-digit million-euro” amount to expand its biologic drug contract manufacturing plant in Amsterdam. The firm says the investment will prepare the site to make new products, such as plasmid DNA and messenger RNA vaccines.

Lonza will manufacture a Kodiak Sciences antibody-biopolymer conjugate being developed for ophthalmic retinal disease therapies. Work will be done at a dedicated plant at Lonza’s site in Visp, Switzerland, beginning next year.

DNA Script has received $50 million from investors to support its enzyme-based DNA synthesis technology. It’s an extension of a $39 million series B round of funding from Danaher, Agilent Technologies, Merck KGaA, and others.DNA Script will use the funds to accelerate development of tools including a benchtop DNA printer.

Nura Bio has launched with $73 million in series A financing to make drugs that prevent neuron loss and restore neuroimmune function. The start-up is designing small-molecule inhibitors of SARM1, a protein that promotes the degradation of injured axons.

ExeVir Bio haslaunched with about $27 million in series A financing to develop camelid antibodies, derived from a llama, that target the coronaviruses SARS-CoV-1 and SARS-CoV-2. The start-up is a spin-off from the Belgian life sciences research institute VIB.



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