PHARMACEUTICAL 

BMS donates diabetes money

The charitable arm of pharma company Bristol-Myers Squibb, the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation, has said it will commit $100 million (£62 million) over the next five years as part of an initiative to help patients with type 2 diabetes with disease management.

Takeda to work with Sage

Takeda has announced a four-year research deal with non-profit biomedical research organisation Sage Bionetworks that will focus on central nervous system (CNS) disease. Takeda will provide $3.6 million in funding and fees. In return, scientists at Sage will seek to identify key regulatory genes and predictive biomarkers in patients with CNS disease using integrated genomics.

Novartis halts cancer trial

Swiss pharma giant Novartis has decided to terminate the clinical trial program for lung cancer candidate vadimezan (ASA404), Attract-2. According to the company, an independent data monitoring committee recommended the move in response to interim Phase III results showing the candidate was unlikely to significantly extend overall survival. Vadimezan is a tumor vascular disrupting agent – it disrupts the blood supply to tumours. UK biotech Antisoma granted Novartis rights to it in April 2007 for $100 million plus other benefits. Novartis says halting the trial will cost $120 million, which it will place on its books in the fourth quarter of this year.

Novo expands China R&D

Novo Nordisk has said it will double the size of its research and development centre in Beijing, China, from 100 to 200 employees by 2015. The Danish drugmaker established the centre in 2002. Now the research scope will be broadened so that eventually the centre will take part in all aspects of drug discovery.

CHEMICAL

BASF drops paper business

BASF has said it will reorganise its paper chemicals division by terminating production of optical brighteners at its Grenzach site in Germany and moving production of paper dyes from Grenzach to Ankleshwar, India. In addition, the paper dye product range will be reduced. The plan will affect 300 full-time jobs in Grenzach, the company said, with about 180 jobs to be left at the site. Fred Baumgartner, head of the BASF Paper Chemicals division said: ‘Currently, paper chemicals are a difficult business to be in.’ Paper chemicals accounted for €1.3 billion (£1.1 billion) of BASF sales over the first nine months of this year. The company attributed growth to increasing demand in Asia and positive currency effects.

Solvay green investment

Solvay says it will invest €83 million to convert the mercury-based electrolysis processes at its Tavaux plant in France to membrane-based equivalents. The company says the move will reduce the energy consumption of the electrolysis by 25 per cent. In addition, it says it will improve the environmental footprint of the site by reducing the carbon dioxide emissions by 19Mt per year. The Tavaux site produces speciality polymers, such as PVDC and PVDF, and ‘essential products’, such as caustic soda, epichlorohydrin and vinyls.

Plan for $1bn Russia fertiliser plant

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) and Japanese company Sojitz have received an order for a large-scale urea fertiliser plant in Russia – a contract worth over $1 billion. The new plant, to be built in Tartarstan, will produce ammonia and methanol from natural gas. According to the companies, the project will represent the first large-scale fertiliser plant construction project in Russia for 20 years. The plant is slated for start-up in 2015. The China National Chemical Engineering Corporation (CNCEC) will be responsible for the construction work.

Andrew Turley

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