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christa.jpg (5628 bytes) Chemical Industry News Editor Christa Semko
Every two weeks, Christa will bring you the latest chemical industry news from around the world.  If you have a press release that you'd like to share with us, please mail it to us through our online contact form here.

Dateline: February 19, 2008

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North America

Fossil Fuel Emission Reduction

Alston Power and The Dow Chemical Co. have agreed to help companies remove carbon dioxide from fossil-fuel power plants.  Through an advanced amine scrubbing technology, they will assist in the removal of carbon dioxide from low-pressure flue gases particular to fossil fuel-fired power plants and other major industries.  The agreement covers the joint development and commercialization of the technology worldwide.

Exploration Spending

HudBay Minerals Inc. plans to spend $43 million on exploration this year, down slightly from $45 million in 2007.  The zinc and copper miner plans to focus its spending on the Flin Flon Greenstone Belt in Manitoba, targeting new discoveries and advancing the Lalor Lake deposit through ongoing drilling and resource estimate analysis.

Barge Sinks

The U.S. Coast Guard closed part of the lower Mississippi River to all vessel traffic near The Dow Chemical Company plant in Plaquemine, New Orleans after a barge sank in the middle of the channel.  The barge sunk after it broke from its tug boat.  No injuries were reported and no pollutants spilled into the water.  It took nearly half a day to reopen the river to small craft and barges, but the river remained closed to deep-draft vessels.  A survey is being done to determine if the sunken barge would interfere with large ships prior to opening the river back up to all boat traffic.

Business Unit Sold

Chemtura has sold its Fluorochemicals business unit and its El Dorado, Arkansas Fluorochemicals production facility to DuPont for an undisclosed amount.  It was an all-cash deal.  The approximately 25 Fluorochemicals employees became DuPont employees.  The sale is part of Chemtura’s ongoing portfolio refinement initiative where it is actively divesting non-core businesses and assets to enhance its focus on its core businesses.


Riverstone Holdings and The Carlyle Group will invest $450 million in Dynamic Offshore Resources, a new Houston-based company established to acquire and develop oil and natural gas-producing properties in the Gulf of Mexico.  The founders and management team of Dynamic Offshore Resources have promised an additional $50 million in funding.


Genetically modified crops

Brazil’s National Biosecurity Council has authorized the planting and sale of two types of genetically modified corn.  This is the first approval for genetically modified corn in Brazil.  One of the authorized varieties is a pest-resistant crop called MON 810 (made by Monsanto), marketed under the names Guardian and YieldGard.  The other variety is a type of corn made by Bayer, resistant to one of Bayer’s commonly used herbicides and known as LibertyLink.  The news angered some rural groups who consider the products to be environmentally risky.

New R&D Strategy

Ciba Specialty Chemicals plans to consolidate its R&D operations into six centers.  The locations have yet to be determined.  Currently, Ciba carries out R&D work at 15 sites around the world.  The company now plans to allocate resources to projects with the highest growth and profit potential where it believes it has the technology basis to support its competitiveness.  The six research centers will be established this year to serve the company’s core business areas: protection and stabilization, color, solids/liquid separation, paper strength and coating, rheology and interphase chemistry, and polymerization and curing agents.  The company spends approximately $230 million on R&D annually.

Licensing Agreement

Amgen and Takeda Pharmaceuticals have signed a licensing agreement that gives the Japanese drugmaker exclusive rights in Japan to develop and market 13 molecules in Amgen’s pipeline.  In addition, the deal includes a global partnership for motesanib diphosphate (AMG 706), a small-molecule therapy for halting the growth of tumor blood vessels.  Takeda will also acquire Amgen’s Japanese subsidiary, Amgen KK.  Takeda will pay Amgen $200 million up front and up to $340 million in development costs during the next several years.  Amgen will also receive up to $362 million in milestone payments and double-digit royalties for sales in Japan.  Separately, Takeda will pay $100 million up front and $175 million in milestone payments on two indications for AMG706.



BASF Venture Capital will contribute $2 million to FinTech GIMV Fund, a new fund investing in emerging high-tech Japanese companies involved in drug discovery, medical devices, new materials, software and telecommunications.  BASF believes its investment may give it access to Japanese innovations in the fields of energy management, new raw materials, nanotechnology, plant biotechnology and industrial biotechnology.



GE Healthcare will pay roughly $713 million to acquire Whatman, an England-based separations technology firm.  The deal will help to expand GE’s life sciences business, which the company identifies as a key growth area.  The acquisition is expected to be completed in the second quarter.  Through it, GE will gain a broad range of filters and membranes that complement its portfolio of technologies and products for biopharmaceuticals research and manufacturing.

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