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.
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.