February 2010



pittcon2010

For the last week analysts have been busy speculating that laboratory industry giant Thermo Fisher Scientific had tabled a $6 billion (£4 billion) takeover bid for Millipore. The speculation reached such a level that the company admitted that it was considering various strategic options ‘including by pursuing a process with potential bidders to explore a possible merger or sale of the company’.

Now I know we don’t usually trade in rumour and speculation, but as I was collecting my press pass for this year’s Pittcon I couldn’t help but notice that Millipore had cancelled its press conference – not an unheard of move, but one that could add some extra spice to Thermo Fisher’s press conference tomorrow.

Things are getting spicy in Orlando already!

Matt Wilkinson

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business-teamwork-36826444-clipart

In a refreshing change for the pharmaceutical industry, three of the largest drugmakers in the US – Lilly, Pfizer and Merck & Co. – have joined forces to form a not-for-profit organisation called the Asian Cancer Research Group (ACRG).

The group aims to set up an extensive pharmacogenomic database that will be publically accessible to researchers. The move follows other pre-clinical collaborations such as Pfizer and GSKs ViiV joint venture, but rather than simply clubbing together to cut costs in a tough market, this venture certainly seems a little more altruistic.

The company will focus its efforts on lung and gastric cancers, which are two of the most common cancers in Asia. Gastric cancer is uncommon in western patients and a significant proportion of Asian lung cancer patients exhibit a mutation that alters the way they respond to certain currently available treatments.

‘The ACRG is about sharing information for the common good,’ said Kerry Blanchard, vice president and leader of drug development in China for Lilly. ‘This company will aid researchers around the world to develop diagnostics, tailor current treatments and develop novel therapies.’ (more…)

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pittcon2010

It’s nearly time for some real excitement to start – the 61st Pittsburgh Conference on Analytical Chemistry and Applied Spectroscopy is about to open its doors at the Orange County Convention Centre in Orlando, Florida.

I’ll be doing my best to bring you back all the news and views from analytical instrument makers from around the world – as well as trying to hunt down the most exciting product launches.

So far my curiosity has been most piqued by an intriguing announcement from PANalytical, which claims the company ‘that a completely new dimension has been added to XRD analysis… and that, from now on, customers will be able to see their world in 3D!’

Can’t wait!

Matt Wilkinson

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112stamp3

The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (Iupac) has finally rubber-stamped the naming of element number 112. Copernicium, with the symbol Cn, is named after the astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus.

After some light-hearted banter over the name and symbol for 112, it can finally take it’s rightful place on the newest editions of the periodic table.

With element 112 out of the way, the Iupac committee can now look into claims for the discovery of heavier elements. This will include element 114, and regular readers will remember that Heino Nitsche’s group at Berkeley, California recently added weight to a claim from Yuri Oganessian’s group in Dubna over 10 years ago.

118-118

However, the Iupac committee will apparently be considering claims for elements as heavy as 118. I wonder if a certain pair of moustachioed athletes will be staking a claim of entitlement for that one…

‘Element 118? Got your number!’

 

Phillip Broadwith

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si

In this week’s Chemistry in its element podcast UCL’s Andrea Sella asks could one imagine a world without silicon

 

 

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aaas2

74 billion is a pretty big number no matter how you look at it. And it becomes even more striking when you hear that 74 billion is the number of pounds of chemical substances (equal to around 34 billion kilos) that were produced or imported into the US every single day in 2006. And that doesn’t even include fuels, pesticides or pharmaceuticals. (more…)

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96260156

22 February 2010: Have something to say about an article you’ve read on Chemistry World this week? Leave your comments below….

(more…)

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aaas1

The AAAS meeting is a fun place to be, and I thought I’d share a couple of things that have put a smile on my face since I’ve been here….

(more…)

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aaas

Well here I am in sunny San Diego, attending the 2010 meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Jet-lag finally conquered, I thought I’d let you know a bit about what’s been going on here. (more…)

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For a change I thought I’d avoid hyping our coverage of the latest round of pharma layoffs at Merck and highlight one of the most amusing press releases I’ve seen in a while.

kulula_flying_101_031

AkzoNobel has supplied the paints that have enabled short-haul South African carrier Kulula, apply a ‘zany livery’ to its fleet expansion of Boeing 737-800s. The first of these, dubbed Flying 101, has been covered with helpful text playfully pointing out parts of the aircraft. The rudder has been described as ‘the steering thingy’, while the fuel tanks are called ‘the go-go-juice’ and there’s a handy label which indicates ‘radar, antenna and a really big dish inside’. (See here for more pictures)

Personally, I’m hoping that the ‘go-go-juice’ doesn’t run out as Anna, our news editor, is currently at AAAS in San Diego (follow her on twitter at ChemistryWorld #AAAS10) and I’m soon going to be heading to Orlando for Pittcon ! (more…)

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