December 2009



Well it seems that big pharma has really got into the festive season this week with a large flurry of licensing deals and purchases being announced before everybody leaves for their Christmas holidays.

PHARMACEUTICALS

Sanofi snaps up Chattem

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French pharma giant Sanofi-Aventis has agreed to buy US consumer healthcare company Chattem in a $1.9 billion (£1.2 billion) cash deal to strengthen its presence outside of its core prescription medicine portfolio and buffer the company from the impending patent cliff.

The purchase will create the world’s fifth-largest consumer healthcare company measured by product revenues, pushing Sanofi from sixth to fifth.

‘The acquisition of Chattem will be a significant milestone in Sanofi-Aventis’ transformation strategy and
will provide us with the ideal platform in the US consumer healthcare market, which represents
25 per cent of the current worldwide opportunity,’ said Christopher Viehbacher, Sanofi’s chief executive.

Zan Guerry, Chattem’s chief executive, and other members of the senior leadership team at Chattem have agreed to lead Sanofi-Aventis’ US consumer health division following the close of the transaction. (more…)

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chemical-christmas-stocking-200

Welcome to the last day of Chemistry World’s countdown to Christmas, where each day we have been unveiling the main elements in a well known Christmas item.

With 2 days to go, we’re looking at the contents of the Christmas stockings that will be hung up over fireplaces and placed at the end of beds around the globe tomorrow night in anticipation of Santa’s visit.

Good boys and girls will awake on Christmas morning the find goodies such as gold coins made of chocolate, the naughtier of us may just find stockings filled with coal. What type of filling are you expecting this year?

To learn more (non-Christmassy) facts about gold and carbon listen to our Chemistry in its element podcasts:

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Gold



c2

Carbon


Nina Notman

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christmas-pudding-dreamstim

Welcome to Chemistry World’s countdown to Christmas, where each day we’ll be unveiling the main elements in a well known Christmas item.

With 3 days to go, we’re looking at Christmas (or plum) puddings traditionally eaten in the UK after turkey on Christmas day – or more specifically we’re looking at the coins hidden within them that bring wealth in the coming year to the finder.

UK tradition states that sixpences should be used for this purpose. Until 1920 these coins were sterling silver; they then became 50 per cent silver. In 1947 they changed again to an alloy of nickel and copper, and remained this composition until 1971 when decimalisation meant the coin was no longer used. The silver sixpence was selected partly for its purity – it was believed that alloy coins would taint the pudding, but that silver was inert. Nowadays, since silver sixpences are in somewhat short supply, coins are normally wrapped in aluminium foil to protect the pudding.

To learn more (non-Christmassy) facts about these elements listen to our Chemistry in its element podcasts:

ag

Silver

 

cu1

Copper

 

Nickel (You’ll have to wait for this one, as the podcast is still in the pipeline)

Nina Notman

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ti

In this week’s Chemistry in its element podcast, Simon Cotton from Uppingham School in the UK talks about the element with a multitude of current uses and potential future ones including cleaning chewing gum and dog mess off of our pavements.

  

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Well, the biggest ever conference on climate change has come to an end – and the messages are certainly mixed. Leaders of developed countries are hailing the result as a positive step, but many see the accord as a disappointment.

Here are the headlines, but look out for an in-depth roundup on the Chemistry World website early in the new year.

(more…)

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star

Welcome to Chemistry World’s countdown to Christmas, where each day we’ll be unveiling the main elements in a well known Christmas item.

With 4 days to go, we’re looking at stars. These are traditionally associated with Christmas because it was a star that, according to the Bible, led the three Wise Men to Bethlehem when Jesus was born.

Stars in the milky way are composed of approximately 71 per cent hydrogen and 27 per cent helium, with the remaining 2 per cent made up of heavier elements.

To learn more (non-Christmassy) facts about these two elements listen to our Chemistry in its element podcasts:

h

Hydrogen

 

he

Helium

 

Nina Notman

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This week has seen pharma’s merger mania spread even deeper into the sector, with Silence merging with Intradigm to form a leader in the RNAi field, Cubist buying Calixa to bolster its position in the antibiotic market, and GSK buying into Intercel to gain access to its patch-based vaccine technologies. Meanwhile, German conglomerate Evonik is reinventing itself as a pure-play speciality chemicals company and Dow is spinning-out its Pfenex business. (more…)

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bells-dreamstimefree

Welcome to Chemistry World’s countdown to Christmas, where each day we’ll be unveiling the main elements in a well known Christmas item.

With 7 days to go, we’re looking at bells – a symbol traditionally associated with the festive session because Church bells are rung on Christmas morning to remember the birth of Jesus. Today, many children make the association thanks to the bells on Santa’s sleigh!

Bells are normally made from a bronze alloy with a high proportion of copper to tin.

To learn more (non-Christmassy) facts about these elements listen to our Chemistry in its element podcasts:

cu

Copper

 

sn

Tin

 

Nina Notman

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gold-bars

Welcome to Chemistry World’s countdown to Christmas, where each day we’ll be unveiling the main elements in a well known Christmas item. Although today’s is pretty self explanatory!

With 8 days to go, we’re discussing the element probably most associated with Christmas: gold. Traditionally gold is linked to Christmas because it is one of the gifts carried by the three Wise Men – the kings who, according to the Bible, followed a star to Bethlehem when Jesus was born. Today, the colour gold is also strongly associated with festive decorations. And of course Santa puts (chocolate) gold coins in our stockings providing we’ve been good that year.

To hear chemistry facts about gold listen to our Chemistry in its element podcast:

au

Gold

 

Nina Notman

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In this week’s Chemistry in its element podcast, science writer Brian Clegg explains why Albert Einstein can be considered the father of the nuclear explosion and einsteinium the child of the bomb

 

 

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