J&J gets $1.1bn Risperdal fine – Cytec buys Umeco for $440m – And algae oil company raises $144m for demo plant

PHARMACEUTICAL – US healthcare giant Johnson & Johnson (J&J) has been hit by a $1.1 billion (£690 million) fine for illegal marketing of its anti-psychotic Risperdal (risperidone) products, according to the BBC. An Arkansas court concluded that in 2007 J&J and its subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceutica misled doctors about the side effects associated with risperidone, which include increased risk of stroke, obesity and diabetes. Janssen has already faced similar cases in Texas, Louisiana and South Carolina.

CHEMICAL – US speciality chemical company Cytec has struck a deal to buy composite materials manufacturer Umeco for $440 million. Umeco makes lightweight bodywork for the civil and military aerospace industries, as well as Formula One cars and other high performance vehicles. The company is based in the UK and reported sales of £207 million in its most recent financial year. Cytec says that it is not expecting ‘significant workforce reductions’ as a result of the move.

CHEMICAL – US algae company Sapphire Energy has raised $144 million to build a commercial demonstration plant. The company makes ‘green’ crude oil from algae and it says the plant, to be built in Luna County, New Mexico, will be the first commercial demonstration scale algae-to-energy plant. It has deals with German industrial gases and engineering company the Linde Group and US agricultural products giant Monsanto.

PHARMACEUTICAL – The US biopharmaceutical industry invested $50 billion in R&D in 2011, according to the main industry association, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PHRMA). The focus has been on more targeted therapies and personalised medicines. It adds that the US biopharmaceutical industry is the single largest contributor to US business R&D, representing 20% of all investment. ‘Beyond the impressive numbers reported by our member companies is the unfolding story of how companies are adapting to a changing research paradigm,’ says John Castellani, PHRMA president and chief executive. ‘Part of that story is our shift to a more agile sector, which increasingly involves collaborative, constructive partnerships with both public and private experts.’

GREENTECH – US solar company BrightSource Energy, has shelved its plans for a $180 million initial public offering (IPO) because of poor market conditions. ‘While we received significant interest from potential investors, the continued market and economic volatility were not optimal conditions for an IPO,’ said John Woolard, president and chief executive. ‘Fortunately, we’re in a strong financial position and we have the support of world-class investors and partners.’ The company makes concentrating solar thermal energy units to produce steam for powering electric generators. The flagship project is the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System, which is set to be the largest solar thermal project in the world.

Andrew Turley

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