Bayer and Evogene to work together on GM wheat

German chemical group Bayer has said it will pay $20 million (£13 million) as part of a five-year deal with Israeli plant sciences company Evogene that will see the two develop new genetically modified wheat varieties. In a separate deal, Bayer will buy a $12 million stake in Evogene at a price of $7 per share. The aim of the project will be to improve key characteristics such as yield, drought tolerance and fertiliser utilisation.

Earlier this year, the price of wheat leapt following low yields in Russia and nearby countries caused by severe droughts. High food prices generally benefit the crop protection industry as producers become more inclined to invest in sustaining their yields.

Roxro licenses Sprix to Daiichi

Luitpold, a US subsidiary of Japanese pharma company Daiichi Sankyo, has signed a merger agreement with Roxro, a privately held US pharma company that develops drugs for the treatment of acute pain. The companies did not disclose financial details. In May, Roxro won US approval for Sprix (ketorolac tromethamine), a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug nasal spray for the management of pain. 

Lanxess buys the rest of DSM elastomers

German speciality chemical company Lanxess is going to buy the rest of the elastomers business at Dutch life and materials sciences company DSM for €310 million (£264 million). Earlier this year, DSM sold the thermoplastic elastomers business unit, which covers polypropylene product Sarlink, to Teknor Apex Company. The sale includes Keltan, which is a synthetic rubber made from ethene and polypropylene with dicyclopentadiene DCPD for the cross linking. About 420 DSM employees will transfer to Lanxess. The DSM move is the final part of a broad divestment plan announced in 2007, which the company says will have brought in €1.2 billion in total. 

DuPont gets rights to Syngenta GM corn trait

Agrichemical company Syngenta has granted chemical major DuPont rights to its corn rootworm trait MIR604 for corn seed, marketed as Agrisure. The trait protects against underground beetles and weevils, such as the corn rootworm, which is a major pest. Syngenta said that the deal, struck with DuPont subsidiary Pioneer Hi-Bred, could exceed $400 million in value, but did not disclose financial terms. 

Bayer to invest €35m in biologics

German chemical and pharma firm Bayer has started contrustion of a new building at its Wuppertal site in Germany for making biologics for clinical trials. The project will cost €35 million.

Thermo Fisher to buy Dionex for $2.1b

Scientific instrument maker Thermo Fisher is going to buy US company Dionex, which makes chromatography products, for $2.1 billion. Dionex introduced to the market the first ion chromatography system for water analysis in 1975. The company employs more than 1600 staff and made sales of $420 million in its 2010 financial year, which ended on 30 June. Thermo says that the price represents a 21 premium on the Dionex share price on 10 December 2010. In addition, it says the move will save the combined businesses $60 million in total.

Novartis completes Alcon merger with $12.9b

Pharma major Novartis has finally reached agreement with the minority shareholders in Swiss eye care company Alcon in a merger deal worth $12.9 billion. In July 2008, Novartis bought a 25 per cent stake in Alcon for $10.4 billion. Then in January, it went to a controlling stake, when it bought the 52 per cent portion owned by Nestlé for $28.3 billion. But its designs on the remaining part were initially frustrated by the minority shareholders, who complained about the lower price they were offered. Alcon employs 15,500 people in 75 countries and achieved sales of $6.5 billion and operating income of $2.3 billion. Once Alcon is merged with the existing Novartis eye care activities, the new business unit is expected to cover 70 per cent of the global eye care sector and generate sales of about $9 billion, based on 2009 figures. The company says that the acquisition in the whole will bring efficiencies in the business of $300 million per year.

Andrew Turley

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