Business digest

C&I Issue 5, 2022

Read time: 4-5 mins

Biogas plant developer and operations specialists Future Biogas has selected Saltend Chemicals Park, owned and operated by px Group, as the site for up to 32 new CO2 storage tanks. This will facilitate the temporary storage of 200,000t of liquified CO2 by mid-2025/y, and up to 400,000t by the end of 2028. The CO2 is a by-product of anaerobic digestion plants and will be captured and liquified at the facilities operated by Future Biogas.

Bioasis Technologies, a Canadian biopharma developing its proprietary xB platform technology for the delivery of therapeutics across the blood-brain barrier, has announced a research collaboration with Janssen Biotech, a Belgian pharmaceutical company wholly owned by Johnson & Johnson. Under the agreement, Janssen will have the option to research, develop and commercialise novel products based on Bioasis’ xB platform.

Johnson Matthey has begun construction of a new line at its Gliwice site in Poland. The €50m investment will enable JM to provide its customers with small batches and spare parts of its range of catalyst products that help the automotive industry reduce harmful emissions from all types of vehicles.

Pfizer has acquired ReViral, a UK-based, privately held, clinical-stage biopharma which discovers, develops and commercialises novel antiviral therapeutics that target RSV (respiratory syncytial virus). Each year, RSV is estimated to cause infections in approximately 64m people, resulting in about 160,000 deaths globally. Pfizer will pay up to $525m, including upfront and development milestones.

Charles River Laboratories International has acquired Explora BioLabs Holdings, a provider of contract research services that provides biopharma clients with in vivo vivarium facilities, management, and related services to conduct early-stage research activities.

Japanese medical care business Asahi Kasei Medical has agreed to acquire California-based Bionova Scientific, a provider of contract process development services and GMP-compliant contract manufacturing services to biopharmaceutical companies, especially those developing next-generation antibody-based drugs.

Swedish energy technology company Metacon, in cooperation with engineering and construction partner Gällivare Industriservice, part of Jernbro has entered into a SEK56m ($5.6m) contract to supply two electrolysis-based integrated green hydrogen refuelling stations to Botnia Hydrogen. The stations, with the capacity to refuel 200kg and 400kg of hydrogen/day at 350 and 700 bar, will be located in Piteå and Arvidsjaur in northern Sweden.

Catalent, a US provider of delivery technologies, development, drug manufacturing, biologics, gene therapies and consumer health products, has purchased from Vaccine Manufacturing and Innovation Centre UK a biologics development and manufacturing facility, currently under construction near Oxford, UK. Catalent will invest up to $160m to complete the facility for the development and manufacture of biologic therapies and vaccines. It is expected that the new facility will support public and private organisations seeking to develop and manufacture biotherapeutics.

Asymchem Laboratories, a CDMO serving the pharmaceutical and biotech industry, has completed construction of a new building at its production site in Dunhua, China. The expansion will add nearly 500m³ of batch capacity to meet demands for upcoming commercialisation projects.

Attracted by Sweden’s support for creating a circular economy with a cellulose-based society, entrepreneur and scientist Gary Cass is moving his company, Cass Materials, from Australia to Örnsköldsvik in Sweden. Cass aims to produce competitive, innovative, biobased materials that are natural and biodegradable as a sustainable alternative for the global absorbency, food and medical biotech industries.

US biotech Seagen is to build a new facility in Everett, Washington, US, to expand the company’s biomanufacturing capacity and enable greater control and flexibility over the production of its medicines to treat cancer. The facility is expected to be operational in 2024 and will produce medicines for clinical trials and the commercial market.

The Dutch National Growth Fund is to invest €325m in the Oncode-PACT plan to accelerate the preclinical development process of cancer drugs.

Cost to GlaxoSmithKline for acquisition of Sierra Oncology, a California-based, late-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on targeted therapies for the treatment of rare forms of cancer.

Number of people who suffer from moderate to complete hearing loss worldwide. Autigen, a biotechnology portfolio company of the pharmaceutical accelerator Ascend BioVentures, and subsidiary of Otologic Pharmaceutics, is developing novel treatments for hearing loss based on science conducted at the Hough Ear Institute. It has announced a research collaboration and license agreement with Boehringer Ingelheim to discover, develop and commercialise therapies for patients with sensorineural hearing loss.

15,000kt pa
Capacity of Ineos Nitriles’ acetonitrile production facility to be built at its operating site in Köln, Germany. Acetonitrile is a critical chemical in the production of existing pharmaceuticals as well as the development of new drugs, such as those used to fight COVID-19. It is also a key component in the agrochemicals and bioscience sectors.

Charles River Laboratories International has announced that all its facilities in North America and Europe will run on ‘100% renewable’ electricity starting in 2023. In its 2021 Corporate Citizenship Report, the company explained that it has ‘entered into virtual power purchase agreements for both North America and Europe to supply facilities in those regions with 100% renewable electricity beginning in 2023’. As of the end of 2021, it draws about 38% of its electricity from renewable energy sources, according to the report.

A BASF and thyssenkrupp Uhde collaboration has improved the STAR process – a proprietary dehydrogenation process from thyssenkrupp Uhde that produces propylene from propane feedstocks, or isobutylene from isobutane feedstocks. The technology reduces CO2 emissions and operating costs by up to 30% through lower energy consumption.

US oncology biotech Halozyme Therapeutics is acquiring US specialty pharma Antares Pharma in a deal that values Antares at $960m. The aim is to create a specialty product and drug delivery leader.

Swiss multinational speciality chemicals company Clariant has completed the divestment of its $130m 50% stake in the joint venture which owns Scientific Design Company. Clariant will invest the proceeds into growth projects within its core business areas: care chemicals, catalysis, natural resources and plastics/coatings.

US biotech Akron Bio, a developer and manufacturer of building blocks used by biopharmas to produce therapies for the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular diseases and cancers, has launched a new cGMP (Current Good Manufacturing Practice) plasmid DNA manufacturing facility in Sarasota, Florida. The facility will address critical demands in the rapidly growing gene therapy and vaccine markets by providing plasmid DNA, an important ancillary material used in the manufacture of advanced therapies.

Octant, a therapeutics company developing programmable biology and chemistry to build precision medicines for complex diseases, has announced an $80m Series B financing round to establish a Deep Mutational Scanning (DMS) biopharma partnership with Bristol Myers Squibb.

Enzyvant, part of Sumitovant Biopharma – wholly owned by Sumitomo Pharma, a commercial-stage biotechnology company with a focus on regenerative medicines for rare diseases, has announced plans to develop a Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP)-compliant regenerative medicine manufacturing facility in Morrisville, North Carolina, US, part of the Research Triangle Park area. Construction is expected to begin this summer and take approximately two and a half years to complete.

German biotech BioNTech and Matinas BioPharma, a US clinical-stage biopharma focused on the intracellular delivery of nucleic acids and small molecules using its lipid nanocrystal (LNC) platform technology, have entered into an exclusive research collaboration to evaluate the combination of mRNA formats and Matinas’ proprietary LNC platform technology. The parties will closely collaborate on formulation, optimisation and in vitro testing.

Gene delivery solutions company VectorBuilder has announced the construction of a new R&D and manufacturing centre in Guangzhou, China. The ‘Gene Delivery Research and Manufacturing Campus’ will expand VectorBuilder’s R&D capabilities and its production capacity for both research-use and cGMP-grade gene delivery vectors, allowing the company to continue supporting research worldwide. The campus will include a CDMO facility with 30 production suites, designed for cGMP manufacturing of plasmids, mRNA, AAV, lentivirus, cell lines and other types of viral and non-viral vectors. The research institute will also carry out educational activities aimed at training scientists and engineers in the rapidly expanding gene delivery field.

Medical device technology company Boston Scientific Corporation has announced a €100m expansion of its operations at Ballybrit in Galway. The expansion is expected to enable 300+ jobs in the coming years and includes over 3750m2 of medical device manufacturing space that will be powered by renewable energy.

Chinese gene/therapy CDMO Suzhou Porton Advanced Solutions and Chinese oncology biotech Guizhou Sinorda Biomedicine have announced a long-term strategic partnership in cell and gene therapy R&D and platform development.

Venomtech has announced a drug development collaboration with Charles River Laboratories International to help drug developers explore venom-derived compounds for a wide range of therapeutic targets. The collaboration will bring together Venomtech’s biology expertise and venom-derived peptide library, with Charles River’s drug development and screening knowhow, providing pharmaceutical manufacturers with a service to explore this unique natural resource.

Six companies have formed a partnership to establish Southeast Asia’s first green e-methanol plant which converts captured biogenic carbon dioxide (CO2) into green e-methanol, a low-carbon fuel, that could enable a significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. The pilot plant will be set up in Singapore pending successful conclusion of feasibility studies by the end of 2022. PTT Exploration and Production, Air Liquide, YTL PowerSeraya, Oiltanking Asia Pacific, Kenoil Marine Services and AP Moller – Maersk have signed a memorandum of understanding to explore the feasibility of establishing a green e-methanol pilot plant, with a minimum capacity of 50kt/year.

Danish catalysis, process technology and energy transition company Topsoe is supporting Refuel Energy produce sustainable aviation fuel and renewable diesel with a new facility in Ontario, Canada. The plant will have a capacity of 3000 barrels/day and reduce CO2 emissions for end users by up to 80%. It will use Topsoe’s HydroFlex and H2bridge technologies with feedstocks including a mix of waste fats, oils and greases, such as regionally sourced used cooking oil, animal fats and non-edible crop oils.

BASF has opened a new laboratory for the development of automotive refinish coatings and innovations at its site in Münster, Germany. The laboratory will support the development and formulation of sustainable product solutions, including state-of-the-art waterborne refinish paint with the lowest value of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) on the market, and which are claimed to be the most eco-friendly automotive refinish paint lines available.

Chemicals business Cepsa Quimica has introduced the first two products in a new line of sustainable chemicals: NextLAB and NextPhenol. Used to produce cleaning agents and engineering plastics, the chemicals are made from renewable and recycled raw materials.

Danish pharma Novo Nordisk is expanding its research collaboration in oral drug delivery technologies with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Since 2015, scientists from Novo Nordisk and the laboratories of Giovanni Traverso and Robert Langer have explored novel technologies as alternatives to syringes and pen injectors by co-creating new devices that safely and effectively deliver biologic medicines through oral administration. This collaboration has resulted in several inventions, including the SOMA robotic pill, which has been licensed to Novo Nordisk for clinical development.

Belgian multinational chemical company Solvay is expanding its production capacity of high-performance polymer Solef polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) at its site in Tavaux, France. This new project will expand its capacity in Europe to 35,000t.

French oil and gas multinational TotalEnergies and Japanese petroleum company ENEOS Corporation are to collaborate in a feasibility study to assess the production of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) in ENEOS’ Negishi Refinery in Yokohama city, Japan. The proposed unit’s capacity would be 300,000t/year.

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