Business digest

C&I Issue 10, 2022

Read time: 5-6 mins

Lonza, a Swiss development and manufacturing partner to the pharma, biotech and nutrition industries, has completed the expansion of its Highly Potent API (HPAPI) multipurpose suite in Visp, Switzerland, adding both development and manufacturing capacity.

Also, at Lonza, the company has announced a collaboration with UK biotech Touchlight, a company working with enzymatic DNA production to support genetic medicine. The collaboration means Lonza will be able to integrate an additional, differentiated source of DNA for customers developing messenger RNA (mRNA) therapeutics and vaccines. Touchlight benefits from widening the channels through which customers can gain access to its novel ‘doggy bone’ DNA (dbDNA) technology.

UK cell and gene therapy (CGT) company Ori Biotech and the Cell Therapy Manufacturing Center – a joint venture, based in Houston, Texas, US, between National Resilience and the MD Anderson Cancer Center – have announced a collaborative partnership to develop industrial manufacturing processes for cell therapies. The partnership will accelerate process development, clinical implementation and commercialisation of novel cell therapies.

The University of Melbourne’s Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity has announced the establishment of the Cumming Global Centre for Pandemic Therapeutics. The new Centre is made possible by funding from Canadian-New Zealand businessman and philanthropist, Geoffrey Cumming, who donated AU$250m to the University of Melbourne.

US global food corporation Cargill is partnering with the Singapore Economic Development Board to support local founders with investments that accelerate innovation for the food and agriculture industry in Asia-Pacific. Through this three-year partnership, Cargill will develop a portfolio of at least five new start-ups in Singapore that will focus on industry challenges from increasing access to market data for smallholder farmers to creating more efficient, transparent and cost-effective food supply solutions.

Multinational suppliers of materials for life sciences Biosynth Carbosynth, vivitide and Pepscan are rebranding as Biosynth.

US specialty chemicals manufacturer Solenis has acquired Clearon, which has a portfolio of products for the residential and commercial pool water and spa markets, including sanitisers and disinfectants for water treatment and household, industrial and institutional applications.

Singapore-based production company Global Amines has announced the successful start-up of its new fatty amines production plant in Surabaya, Indonesia. The new plant will supply fatty amines to customers in Southeast Asia and globally. The products are used to produce ingredients in personal care and home care, such as mild surfactants and co-surfactants for shampoo and dishwashing liquids, as well as raw materials for diverse industrial applications.

BASF has inaugurated the first plant of its new Zhanjiang Verbund site in Guangdong, China. The plant has an annual capacity of 60,000t of engineering plastics compounds for the automotive and electronics industries. Zhanjiang will be BASF’s third largest Verbund site after Ludwigshafen, Germany, and Antwerp, Belgium. The company’s Verbund concept is to add value through the efficient use of resources – production plants, energy and material flows, logistics and site infrastructure are all integrated. BASF plans to power the entire Zhanjiang Verbund site with 100% renewable electricity by 2025.

Hyderabad, India-based pharmaceutical manufacturing company Aurobindo Pharma has announced it will invest $37.7m into an expansion of its biosimilars manufacturing subsidiary CuraTeQ Biologics. The aim is to expand production with another mammalian cell culture manufacturing facility and to be fully operational by 2026.

BASF has concluded a framework agreement for the purchase of pyrolysis oil from German chemical recycling company ARCUS Greencycling Technologies. The two companies want to contribute their respective know-how in using recycled raw materials in the chemical industry, thereby driving the transition to a circular economy and reducing CO2 emissions. ARCUS will supply BASF with pyrolysis oil from mixed plastic waste that is not recycled mechanically, and BASF will use the oil in its production plants as a raw material for the production of ‘ChemCycling’ products.

Chinese CRDMO WuXi STA – a subsidiary of pharma, biopharma and medical device company WuXi AppTec – has opened a new sterile lipid nanoparticle (LNP) formulation development and manufacturing facility at its Wuxi city campus. Created in response to the increasing demand for complex injection dosage forms, this new facility adds to the company’s parenteral formulation capabilities.

US President Biden has launched the National Biotechnology and Biomanufacturing Initiative to help ensure products invented in the US are made in the US. The launch briefing explained that industry analysis suggests that bioengineering could account for more than a third of global output of manufacturing industries before the end of the decade – valued at almost $30tn.

US analytical laboratory instrument manufacturer Thermo Fisher Scientific has opened its largest single-use technology manufacturing site in Greater Nashville, Tennessee, US. The $105m facility will help the company meet rapidly growing demand for the bioprocessing materials needed to produce vaccines and therapies for cancer and other diseases.

1231m t
The governments of Norway and Rwanda, together with 18 other countries (including the UK) have launched the High Ambition Coalition to End Plastic Pollution. The launch referenced an OECD report, which projected that without urgent global action, the volume of plastics in rivers and lakes will increase from 109m t in 2019 to 348m t in 2060, while plastics leaking into the ocean will rise from 30m t in 2019 to 145m t in 2060. Plastic consumption is projected to skyrocket in the coming decades, from 460m t in 2019 to 1231m t in 2060. The most significant sectors driving consumption are packaging, vehicles and construction.

Investment by German science company Merck KGaA to strengthen its manufacturing capabilities for single-use assemblies, a key technology for the production of Covid-19 vaccines and other therapies, in Molsheim, France, where ISO7 clean rooms, administrative building and new logistics warehousing are planned to be operational by the end of 2024. The site will ramp up to full production by 2028.

Italian multinational oilfield services company Saipem and Norwegian waste technology company Quantafuel have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to collaborate in the industrialisation and construction of waste plastics chemical recycling plants based on Quantafuel’s pyrolysis technology. The thermochemical process converts solid plastic waste into liquid or gaseous products that can be reused as fuel or chemical raw materials for plastics recycling. Saipem will provide intelligent smart operation and maintenance services, as well as joint performance guarantees for the plants.

US clinical-stage biopharma Poseida Therapeutics has entered into a broad strategic collaboration and license agreement with Swiss healthcare company Roche, focused on developing allogeneic CAR-T therapies directed to haematologic malignancies. The collaboration covers the research and development of multiple existing and novel ‘off-the-shelf’ cell therapies against targets in multiple myeloma, B-cell lymphomas and other haematologic indications.

Roche has agreed a global license for biotech Kiniksa Pharmaceuticals’ vixarelimab, an antibody that targets oncostatin M receptor beta, through its Genentech unit.

US oncology-focused CRO LumaBridge (formerly known as Cancer Insight) and the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy, a network of immuno-oncology expertise, have announced a strategic partnership aimed at accelerating breakthrough immunotherapies. The new collaboration offers affiliated scientists and organisations direct access to the full suite of clinical trial services from LumaBridge. These include clinical trial design, regulatory strategy support, clinical operations, quality assurance, data management, medical writing and biostatistics and pharmacovigilance.

Chinese chemicals and rubber company Sinochem International has inaugurated its new compounding factory in the Yizheng Chemical Industrial Park, Yangzhou. The new plant currently produces 24,000t of ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) and is aiming for an annual capacity of 56,000t of ABS and polycarbonate modified materials in 2023.

US manufacturer Milliken has announced the launch of a new clarifier plant in Blacksburg, South Carolina, US, to help meet demand for plastic additives and colourants.

Catalent, a US provider of delivery technologies, development, drug manufacturing, biologics, gene therapies and consumer health products, has reached an agreement to acquire Metrics Contract Services, a full-service specialty CDMO for $475m from Mayne Pharma Group.

Dutch biotech Synaffix and French-German biopharma Emergence Therapeutics have announced that they have entered into a licensing agreement of up to $360m, providing Emergence with access on a target-specific basis to Synaffix’s proprietary antibody drug conjugate (ADC) technologies. Emergence will be responsible for the research, development, manufacturing and commercialisation of the ADCs. Synaffix will be responsible for the manufacturing of components that are specifically related to its proprietary technologies.

Danish multinational pharma Novo Nordisk and US software giant Microsoft have entered a strategic collaboration to combine Microsoft’s computational services, cloud and AI with Novo Nordisk’s drug discovery, development and data science capabilities. Through the partnership, Microsoft is providing AI technology, foundational science models and expertise, and is working alongside Novo Nordisk’s data scientists and domain experts from early research and development areas to accelerate Novo Nordisk’s R&D.

Finnish energy and environmental services development company Fortum is expanding its UK-based operations; building a new Energy-from-Waste plant in Glasgow, Scotland. Fortum plans to use its Carbon2x concept to capture emissions from waste incineration and turn them into CO2-based, high-quality raw materials. It estimates that Carbon2x will help reduce the dependence on fossil-based raw materials, improve Europe’s self-suff-iciency and decarbonise waste incineration.

BASF, Sabic and Linde have begun construction of the world’s first demonstration plant for large-scale electrically heated steam cracker furnaces. The plant will be integrated into one of BASF’s existing steam crackers at its Ludwigshafen Verbund site in Germany. It will test two different heating concepts, processing around 4t of hydrocarbon/h and consuming 6MW of renewable energy instead of natural gas. The technology has the potential to reduce CO2 emissions by at least 90%, compared with conventional steam crackers. Start-up of the demonstration plant is scheduled for 2023.

UK specialty polymers company Itaconix, an innovator in plant-based polymers used as ingredients in everyday consumer products, has announced a global agreement with UK speciality chemicals company Croda. Itaconix will produce and supply the proprietary Zinador odour neutralising ingredients for Croda to market and sell globally in home care applications.

UK manufacturer International Fibres Group (IFG) has announced a strategic R&D partnership with Swiss industrial minerals company Omya, a global producer of calcium carbonate. Using IFG’s Fibres Research Centre in Linz, Austria,they will explore new fibre product performance, characteristics and applications incorporating Omyafiber, a specially developed calcium carbonate for fibre and nonwoven applications. The two companies will jointly promote their findings into the fibres and nonwovens industry.

The US Department of Energy is providing $46m for 22 projects that will create biofuel energy to help decarbonise the transportation and power generation sectors. Led by universities, private companies, municipal resource management entities and local governments, the projects will develop waste conversion and carbon capture technologies to produce fuels from biomass and waste streams and enable algal systems to capture carbon and turn it into alternative clean energy sources.

Become an SCI Member to receive benefits and discounts

Join SCI