Business digest

C&I Issue 9, 2021

Read time: 7 mins

US gas and chemicals company Air Products has chosen Danish catalyst company Haldor Topsoe’s low-carbon technology for its world-scale net-zero hydrogen energy complex in Edmonton, Canada.

US multinational biopharma company Amgen, headquartered in California, is building a manufacturing facility in North Carolina as part of a $1m investment in additional capacity.

Chinese headquartered biotech BeiGene, which focuses on cancer therapeutics, has entered into a purchase and sale agreement with Lincoln Equities Group to acquire the Princeton West Innovation Campus in Hopewell, NJ. BeiGene plans to build state-of-the-art R&D and manufacturing facilities at the US site.

German biotechnology company BioNTech has acquired the solid tumour neoantigen T-cell receptor R&D platform and clinical manufacturing facility in Gaithersburg, US, from Kite Pharma, a Gilead Company.

German chemicals distributor Brenntag has acquired 67% of Chinese speciality food ingredients distributor Zhongbai Xingye with the full acquisition expected to be completed by the end of 2024. In addition, the company has completed the acquisition of Chinese pigments and additives distributor Wellstar Group.

The Canadian government has launched its Biomanufacturing and Life Sciences Strategy, which includes investing over $2.2bn over seven years to grow the sector and ensure the country is prepared for future pandemics.

Global CRO Curia, formerly AMRI, headquartered in the US, is to acquire LakePharma, a US biologics drug discovery, clinical R&D and manufacturing company with operations in California, Massachusetts, and Texas. The transaction is expected to close in Q3 2021. In addition, Curia has agreed to acquire Integrity Bio, a US formulation and fill-finish organisation headquartered in Camarillo, California.

UK big data and analysis company DeepMatter has started a project with the University of Cambridge’s Innovation Centre in Digital Molecular Technologies (iDMT). DeepMatter will provide its cloud-based digital chemistry platform to the project as part of the development of a fully digital workflow in the discovery and development of new molecules, materials, reactions, and processes. The project will be based in the department of chemistry at the university and led by Alexei Lapkin.

UK scientific informatics company Dotmatics has been selected by UK speciality chemicals company Croda International to implement its R&D digital programme. Dotmatics will equip Croda scientists with an electronics lab notebook solution, including experiment capture, entity registration and sample tracking, data retrieval, and data analytics. Meanwhile, Snaith-based Croda has completed the expansion of its Mill Hall high purity excipients facility. With this expansion, Croda aims to contribute to the development of 25% of WHO-listed pipeline vaccines. In addition, Croda has now committed to becoming a net zero organisation by 2050 and has a verified 1.5°C science-based target.

UK pharma major GSK is looking to sell 33 acres of land, unlocking around £400m from a private developer, to invest in a new campus in Stevenage. The life science campus will be developed in partnership with the Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst, the UK government and Stevenage Borough Council.

South Korean drug company Hanmi Pharmaceutical and South Korean biotechnology company LegoChem Biosciences are collaborating to develop an antibody–drug conjugate (ADC) to treat cancers. The partnership will use a bispecific antibody developed by Hanmi Pharm’s affiliate in China, Beijing Hanmi Pharm, together with LegoChem’s ADC technology. Hanmi Pharm will be responsible for commercial development of an ADC candidate that comes from the partnership.

UK multinational chemicals company Ineos Enterprises has completed the sale of its Spanish-based sulfur chemicals business to International Chemical Investors Group (ICIG). The business will become part of WeylChem’s advanced intermediates and reagents portfolio. WeylChem is wholly owned by ICIG.

Price paid by German pharma major Bayer to acquire US biotechnology company Vividion Therapeutics, which focuses on small molecule therapies across indications such as oncology and immunology. Bayer will also pay up to $500m in success-based milestones.

Investment by multinational global drug delivery and manufacturing company Catalent to add biologics manufacturing capabilities at its site in Anagni, Italy. The initial expansion is expected to be commissioned and operational in April 2023.

Price paid by German specialty chemicals company Lanxess to acquire the US-based speciality chemicals manufacturer Emerald Kalama Chemical. With the acquisition, Lanxess gains three production sites in the US, Netherlands and the UK.

Investment by German science and technology company Merck KGaA at its global headquarters in Darmstadt. The monies are for building a translational science centre for its healthcare business and a learning centre. The projects are part of the €1bn investment announced by Merck in 2019 and plans to realise by 2025.

Project funded to the tune of £18.27m from the UK government via UK Research and Innovation’s Strength in Places Fund (SIPF) with the remainder coming from partner investment to the Midlands Industrial Ceramics Group. The funds will be used to develop an industrial and academic R&D programme over the next four years, creating a cluster of new businesses in the Midlands and strengthening the supply chain in the region.

German chemicals company Haltermann Carless, part of the HCS Group, is set to increase production capacity of cyclopentane by up to 70% as of Q1 2022, following the completion of its hydrogenation plant at the Speyer site in Germany.

Loxo Oncology, an R&D group of US pharma major Eli Lilly, is collaborating with US biotech Kumquat Biosciences to discover, develop and commercialise small molecules that stimulate tumour-specific immune responses. Kumquat will receive $70m as an upfront payment and equity investment and will be eligible to receive over $2bn in potential milestone payments and royalties on sales of commercialised products resulting from the collaboration.

Finnish nanoparticle medicine company Nanoform, headquartered in Helsinki, has given Boehringer Ingelheim the go ahead for proof-of-concept studies on its proprietary technology to find out what value it can bring to Boehringer’s drug development projects. The two companies have agreed to use the technology in the pre-clinical early development studies to address the poor bioavailability and solubility in new drug candidates.

UK multinational speciality chemicals and sustainable technologies company Johnson Matthey has acquired the assets and intellectual property of Oxis Energy, a lithium-sulfur battery developer based at the Culham Science Centre in Abingdon, Oxford. The site will enable the production of tens of thousands of catalyst-coated membrane parts/year.

Swedish headquartered global CDMO Recipharm is investing in a new facility in Uttarakhand, India, which will increase fill finish capacity to 1bn sterile units/year. The facility, which is a joint project between Recipharm and the Sobti family, is designed for approval in the EU and the US.

US biotechnology company Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, headquartered in New York, is investing around $1.8bn over six years to expand its research, preclinical manufacturing, and support facilities at the company’s Westchester County campus in the Mid-Hudson Region. In addition, the company is collaborating with pharma major AstraZeneca to research, develop and commercialise small molecule compounds to treat obesity and related co-morbidities. The companies will evenly split R&D costs and share equally in any future potential profits.

Germany-headquartered CDMO Rentschler Biopharma is building a facility in the US, adjacent to its existing Milford, MA, site, significantly expanding its cGMP manufacturing capacity. The facility is expected to become operational in late 2023.

Riverrecycle, headquartered in Helsinki, Finland, which installs waste management systems on the shores of polluted rivers to collect plastic waste and floating debris, is partnering with UK headquartered Clean Planet Energy, which converts non-recyclable plastics into clean fuel. The partnership will support global efforts to remove such plastics from rivers and the environment in Southeast Asia, and then re-purpose the waste as ultra-clean fuels. The focus will initially be in Indonesia and the Philippines.

French pharma major Sanofi is set to acquire Translate Bio, a US clinical-stage mRNA therapeutics company based in Massachusetts, for a total equity value of approximately $3.2bn. Translate Bio has potential drugs for cystic fibrosis and other rare lung diseases in its pipeline. In addition, its technology has the potential to be applied to other areas such as vaccines, immunology, and oncology.

The US Department of Energy is providing $73m funding for materials and chemical sciences research to advance quantum information science research. Twenty-nine projects, each lasting up to three years, will study the materials and chemical processes needed to develop the next generation of quantum smart devices and quantum computing technology.

Chinese pharmaceutical company WuXi STA, a subsidiary of WuXi AppTec, has acquired a drug product manufacturing facility in Couvet, Switzerland, from US pharma major Bristol Myers Squibb. The transaction increases the company’s global presence to eight R&D and manufacturing sites across Asia, North America and Europe.

The UK government is considering locating its £800m Aria agency, modelled on the US Defence Advanced Research Agency (Darpa), in Canary Wharf, London, where a life science cluster is planned and where the European Medicines Agency was previously based.

Sabic has launched two new glass fibre-reinforced polybutylene terephthalate (PBT) materials: LNP Thermocomp WFC061 and WFC061XP developed for the front and back enclosure covers, respectively, of next generation millimeter-wave automotive radar devices for advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS). The grades offer a very low dissipation factor and dielectric constant to help support the transmission of higher-frequency radar signals. Very low warpage facilitates the creation of thin covers that also improve signal transmission, and support laser welding to assist assembly.

Producer of speciality graphene nanoplatelet dispersions, Applied Graphene Materials has introduced eco-friendly Genable 1700 series dispersions to improve the sustainability of bio-based paint, coating and composite material formulations. The dispersions are integrated with a selection of certified, fully biobased solvents and resins, including the solvent Cyrene (dihydrolevoglucosenone) and renewable resins Entropy Resin One, a solvent-free liquid epoxy, and Entropy Resin CCR, a solvent-free hydroxy functional ester.

Solvay has launched a new grade of PEEK, KT-850 SCF 30, designed for precision brake systems and electronic pump components. The new material is said to offer better sealing performance over standard 30% carbon fibre filled PEEK grades used for anti-lock brake system (ABS) and electronic stability control (ESC) components like tappets poppets and plungers. Further metal replacement results by improving flow characteristics and surface finish.

Global sportswear brand Mizuno has partnered with Sweden’s Polygiene to utilise its Biostatic Stays Fresh technology for products including sweaters, jogging bottoms and down jackets. The technology is said to provide protection against body odours by inhibiting bacterial growth, thereby reducing the number of times a garment needs to be washed.

Merck has launched a new line of N-methylpyrrolidone (NMP)-free complementary green solvents, AZ 910 Remover for use in photolithographic processes in semiconductor manufacturing. The new solvents are said to be capable of stripping a resist using less than three times the solvent volume, saving money and reducing the environmental footprint of materials entering the waste stream. The new solvents dissolve both negative and positive tone resists rathe than lifting them like current NMP-based products.

Royal DSM and Sabic are collaborating to create a recycle-based Dyneema polyethylene fibre through a joint project with multiple CirculariTeam members, using ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMwPE) waste. The material will be used in a pilot project in both sailing rope and pelagic trawl net applications.

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