Syngenta plans $1bn African business – Plavix patent expires – And DSM buys omega-3 company

CHEMICAL – Swiss agrichemical giant Syngenta has announced plans to create a $1 billion (£600 million) business in Africa over the next 10 years. ‘This engagement has been catalysed by the encouraging steps taken by a number of African governments to stimulate investment,’ said Syngenta chief executive Mike Mack. ‘We intend to play a leading role in public-private collaborations, which will be essential to making a planned transformation actually happen on the ground.’ Syngenta expects to invest $500 million gradually over the period, as well as hiring and training 700 new employees. It target is to reach five million farmers and enable them to improve their productivity by at least 50 percent.

PHARMACEUTICAL – Time has run out for the Plavix (clopidogrel) brand – the key patents have expired and Bristol-Myers Squibb and Sanofi, which currently market anti-clotting Plavix tablets, will now face generic erosion of their sales. Clopidogrel is one of the biggest selling drugs of the last 20 years. And despite generic competition in some regions, such as India, it is still a huge drug in terms of sales: in 2011, it generated sales of $7.1 billion for Bristol-Myers Squibb and €410 million for Sanofi. But those good sales are now likely to fall dramatically. Dr Reddy’s, Gate, Mylan, Teva, Apotex, Aurobindo, Roxane, Sun Pharma and Torrent have all received approval to sell generic versions in the US, where clopidogrel is approved for treating patients who have recently had a heart attack or a stroke, or have partial or total blockage of an artery.

CHEMICAL – Netherlands speciality chemical company DSM has struck a deal to buy Ocean Nutrition Canada – a manufacturer of omega-3 fatty acids – for C$540 million (£340 million).  Ocean Nutrition Canada extracts omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil. The acids are well known for their diverse health benefits and as such widely used in food, drink and dietary products. The company is based in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and employs 415 people. DSM already makes docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), an omega-3 fatty acid, plus arachidonic acid (ARA), a polyunsaturated omega-6 fatty acid, both from microbial sources. But it says that the markets for naturally occurring compounds of this type and equivalents from microbial sources are very different and as such the newly acquired products will not compete with its established portfolio. The move follows similar activity in this area very recently. Earlier this month, BASF announced its deal to buy UK omega-3 fatty acid manufacturer Equateq, which specialises in pharmaceuticals and dietary supplements.

CHEMICALDow has bought Lightscape Materials, a privately owned US company with intellectual property in phosphor technology for LEDs, for an undisclosed amount. The company was established by Gerard Frederickson and Yongchi Tian, who will continue as part of the Dow team, and a spin-off from SRI International, a non-profit US contract research institute based in California, US. Phosphors are used in LED lighting applications when colour quality is more important, such as in backlighting for LCD displays and illumination of residential, workplace and retail spaces. They enable the LED to create a wide spectrum of white light.

PHARMACEUTICAL – Indian healthcare company Piramal has signed a deal to by US market research firm Decision Resources for $635 million. Decision Resources sells information relating to the global healthcare industry, focusing on three market segments: biopharmaceuticals; ‘market access’ databases and analytical services; and medical devices. with predicted 2012 sales of $160 million.

Andrew Turley

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