A SIGNIFICANT STEP IN UNDERSTANDING THE BINDING OF THE MALARIA PARASITE TO BLOOD CELLS ENABLED BY THE EXPRES2 TECHNOLOGY PLATFORM
Biotech company ExpreS2ion® Biotechnologies has announced the publication of the article: 'Structure of malaria invasion protein RH5 with erythrocyte basigin and blocking antibodies' in the high impact scientific journal Nature, with teams at the University of Oxford.
The scientists have been working together since the University of Oxford took a license to ExpreS2ions’ Drosophila Schneider-2 cell-based protein production technology platform - ExpreS2.
The RH5 protein is essential for the invasion of human erythrocytes by the parasite that causes the most deadly form of malaria, Plasmodium falciparum. This is an essential stage in the life cycle of the parasite and a target for development of therapeutics to prevent the disease. The data now published reveals the structure of RH5 and shows how it interacts with its binding partner, basigin, from the human erythrocyte. It also demonstrates how antibodies can be used to prevent RH5 from binding to basigin. These findings will allow the development of improved vaccines to prevent malaria.
Dr Wian de Jongh, ExpreS2ion’s CSO, and one of the authors of the Nature paper commented: “We are thrilled that our work with this challenging-to-produce malaria protein is contributing to the advancement of this promising vaccine antigen. The collaboration with the teams at the Jenner Institute and the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Oxford is providing relevant scientific advances to malaria research. This publication in a high impact scientific journal is a recognition of the relevance of the ExpreS2 platform in advancing malaria and vaccine research through enabling the production of difficult and complex proteins, in a GMP-compatible system.”
Dr Simon Draper, Associate Professor at the Jenner Institute and Group Leader for the Blood-Stage Malaria Vaccine Programme commented: “These new data on the structure of the RH5 protein will greatly expedite our ability to develop a highly effective vaccine against this important and critical target within the blood-stage malaria parasite. We can now begin to understand how human antibodies neutralise red blood cell invasion by the malaria parasite and use this information to design improved versions of the vaccine that focus the immune response on the most susceptible regions of the RH5 protein. Our collaboration with ExpreS2ion, and access to the ExpreS2 platform at the Jenner Institute in Oxford, has greatly expanded our capabilities to develop new clinically-relevant protein vaccines against difficult pathogens, such as malaria. We are looking forward to working further with ExpreS2ion Biotechnologies as we progress this important new RH5 malaria target into early-phase clinical trials at Oxford."
Professor Matthew Higgins’ team at the Department of Biochemistry study interactions between the malaria-causing parasites and their human ligands. He commented: "The RH5 protein from the malaria parasite proved to be very difficult to express in large quantities and we were delighted when ExpreS2ion showed that they could produce enough for the heavy requirements of structural biology. ExpreS2ion were extremely helpful as we transferred the S2 cell system to the lab’ and their system was absolutely necessary for us to solve the RH5:basigin structure."
The Jenner Institute
ENGINEERS DEVELOP NEW SENSOR TO DETECT TINY INDIVIDUAL NANOPARTICLES
Nanoparticles, engineered materials about a billionth of a meter in size, are around us every day. Although they are tiny, they can benefit human health, as in some innovative early cancer treatments, but they can also interfere with it through viruses, air pollution, traffic emissions, cosmetics, sunscreen and electronics.
A team of researchers at Washington University in St. Louis, led by Lan Yang, PhD, the Das Family Career Development Associate Professor in Electrical & Systems Engineering, and their collaborators at Tsinghua University in China have developed a new sensor that can detect and count nanoparticles, at sizes as small as 10 nanometers, one at a time. The researchers say the sensor could potentially detect much smaller particles, viruses and small molecules.
The research appears in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences online Early Edition Sept. 1, 2014.
Yang and her colleagues have created the Raman microlaser sensor in a silicon dioxide chip to find individual nanoparticles without the need to "dope" the chip with chemicals called rare-earth ions to provide optical gain for the microlaser. Incorporating additions to the microresonator creates the need for more processing steps and increased costs and invites biocompatibility risks. In addition, the use of rare-earth ions requires specific "pump" lasers matching the energy transitions of the ions to generate optical gain, so for different rare-earth ions, different pump lasers must be used. Using the Raman process loosens the requirement of specific wavelength bands for pump lasers because Raman gain can be obtained using pump at any wavelength band, Yang says.
"This gives us the advantage of using the same dopant-free sensor at different sensing environments by tailoring the lasing frequency for the specific environment, for example, at the band where the environment has minimum absorption, and for the properties of the targeted nanoparticles by just changing the wavelength of the pump laser," says Sahin Kaya Ozdemir, PhD, a research scientist in Yang's group and the first author of the paper.
Yang's team integrated Raman lasing in a silica microcavity with the mode splitting technique pioneered by her group to develop a new, powerful sensor that more readily detects nanoparticles. The technology will benefit the electronics, acoustics, biomedical, plasmonics, security and metamaterials fields.
Yang's microsensor is in a class called whispering gallery mode resonators (WGMRs) because it works similarly to the renowned whispering gallery in London's St. Paul's Cathedral, where a person on one side of the dome can hear a message spoken to the wall by another person on the other side. Yang's device does much the same thing with light frequencies rather than audible ones.
One of the main differences between early resonators and the novel resonator, known as a morphology dependent resonator, was they didn't use mirrors to reflect light. Yang's WGMR is an actual mini-laser that supports "frequency degenerate modes," patterns of excitation inside the mini-laser's doughnut-shaped ring that are of the same frequency. One portion of light beamed by the Raman laser goes counterclockwise, another goes clockwise. When a particle lands on the ring and scatters energy between these modes, the single Raman lasing line splits into two lasing lines with different frequencies.
When a Raman laser beam is generated in the resonator, it likely will encounter a particle, such as a virus nanoparticle, on the circle. When the beam initially sees the particle, the beam splits into two, generating two lasing lines that serve as reference to the other to form a self-referenced sensing technique.
"Our new sensor differs from the earlier whispering gallery sensors in that it relies on Raman gain, which is inherent in silica, thereby eliminating the need for doping the microcavity with gain media, such as rare-earth ions or optical dyes, to boost detection capability," Ozdemir says. "This new sensor retains the biocompatibility of silica and could find widespread use for sensing in biological media."
"It doesn't matter what kind of wavelength is used, once you have the Raman laser circulating inside and there is a molecule sitting on the circle, when the beam sees the particle it will scatter in all kinds of directions," Yang says. "Initially you have a counterclockwise mode, then a clockwise mode, and by analyzing the characterization of the two split modes, we confirm the detection of nanoparticles."
In addition to the demonstration of Raman microlasers for particle sensing, the team says their work shows the possibility of using intrinsic gain mechanisms, such as Raman and parametric gain, instead of optical dyes, rare-earth ions or quantum dots, for loss compensation in optical and plasmonic systems where dissipation hinders progress and limits applications.
Washington University in St. Louis
A NEW SYNTHETIC AMINO ACID FOR AN EMERGING CLASS OF DRUGS
One of the greatest challenges in modern medicine is developing drugs that are highly effective against a target, but with minimal toxicity and side-effects to the patient. Such properties are directly related to the 3D structure of the drug molecule. Ideally, the drug should have a shape that is perfectly complementary to a disease-causing target, so that it binds it with high specificity. Publishing in Nature Chemistry, EPFL scientists have developed a synthetic amino acid that can impact the 3D structure of bioactive peptides and enhance their potency.
Peptides and proteins as drugs
Many of the drugs we use today are essentially naturally-occurring peptides (small) and proteins (large), both of which are made up with the amino acids found in all living organisms. Despite the enormous variety of peptides and proteins, there are only twenty natural amino acids, each with a different structure and chemical properties. When strung together in a sequence, amino acids create peptides and proteins with different 3D structures and, consequently, different biological functions.
Until recently, the vast majority of amino acid-based drugs were the kinds occurring in nature: hormones such as insulin, antibiotics such as vancomycin, immunosuppressive drugs such as cyclosporine etc. But the mounting burden of diseases means that newer and more effective medications must be developed; for example, bacterial resistance is growing globally, pushing our need for novel antibiotics. One way to address this need is the cutting-edge field of directed evolution, which mimics natural selection in the lab to evolve and develop new peptides and proteins.
A new amino acid for new peptides
The team of Christian Heinis at EPFL has developed a synthetic amino acid whose unique structure can considerably increase the effectiveness of therapeutic peptides and proteins. The synthetic amino acid has a very similar structure to a natural amino acid called cysteine. Cysteine is unique among the twenty natural amino acids because it contains a sulfur group. This allows it to form a bridge with another cysteine, and thereby influence the overall 3D structure – and function – of a peptide or protein.
The EPFL researchers initially designed five cysteine-like amino acids, all with one crucial change: each one could form two bridges instead of just one. The team achieved this by replacing cysteine's single sulfur group with a branch containing two sulfur groups. After synthesizing the five new amino acids, the team integrated them into the structure of two bioactive peptides, one that inhibits an enzyme implicated in cancer, and one blocking a receptor found in neurons.
Testing only a handful of cyclic peptides with the synthetic amino acid, Heinis' team was able to identify several peptides that showed enhanced activities. The best inhibitor of the neuron receptor was 8-fold improved and the best protease inhibitor had even a 40-fold higher activity.
"This was unexpected", says Christian Heinis. "Usually when you tamper with a natural molecule, you end up making it worse. In this case, we found the exact opposite, which is very exciting."
The emerging class of bicyclic peptides
The team focuses on therapeutics, where they have a strong background in developing "bicyclic" peptides – peptides that contain two rings in their structure. Bicyclic peptides have grown into a new class of therapeutic peptides that can be used on disease target that conventional small molecules or large antibodies cannot reach. Heinis' group has generated bicyclic peptides against a range of disease targets using directed evolution. "In our work with bicyclic peptides, we learned that wide structural diversity in peptide libraries is key for achieving good binding. With this new amino acid, it is possible to produce highly diverse peptide structures."
Heinis aims now to use the new amino acid in directed evolution experiments. Its structural features and its ability to efficiently make cyclic peptides makes the synthetic amino acid a promising candidate for developing new, effective polycyclic peptides for targeted therapy.
Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne
ECHA'S PROPOSAL TO ADD NEW SUBSTANCES TO THE AUTHORISATION LIST IS NOW IN PUBLIC CONSULTATION
ECHA has launched a public consultation on its draft recommendation of new substances to be included in the Authorisation List. Comments can be submitted by 30 November 2014. In parallel, ECHA facilitates a call by the European Commission on the possible socio-economic consequences of the inclusion of these substances in Annex XIV.
The Agency regularly recommends substances from the Candidate List for inclusion in the Authorisation List (Annex XIV of REACH) to the European Commission. Based on an assessment of the data from the registration dossiers and other available information, and the initial consultation of the Member State Committee, ECHA considers recommending the following priority substances:
- Two substances obtained from coal tar: Anthracene oil; Pitch, coal tar, high temp.
- Seven lead substances: Orange lead (lead tetroxide); Lead monoxide (lead oxide); Tetralead trioxide sulphate; Pentalead tetraoxide sulphate; Silicic acid, lead salt; Pyrochlore, antimony lead yellow; Acetic acid, lead salt, basic.
- Four boron substances: Boric acid; Disodium tetraborate, anhydrous; Diboron trioxide; Tetraboron disodium heptaoxide, hydrate.
- Seven phthalates: Diisopentylphthalate; 1,2-Benzenedicarboxylic acid, di-C6-8-branched alkyl esters, C7-rich; 1,2-Benzenedicarboxylic acid, di-C7-11-branched and linear alkyl esters; 1,2-Benzenedicarboxylic acid, dipentylester, branched and linear; Bis(2-methoxyethyl) phthalate; N-pentyl-isopentylphthalate; Dipentyl phthalate.
- 4-Nonylphenol, branched and linear, ethoxylated. (1)
- 1-Bromopropane (n-propyl bromide).
The recommendation also specifies the proposed conditions of the authorisation requirement for each substance. These conditions include the latest application and sunset dates.
Using the webforms available on ECHA's website, interested parties are invited to comment on the draft recommendation.
The information obtained during the public consultation will be used to further assess the workload associated to the recommended substances and, where relevant, to refine the priority assessment using the agreed prioritisation approach. ECHA expects that a subset of the above substances will be selected for its final recommendation to the Commission. This will also take into account the capacity of ECHA and of the European Commission to handle the applications within the timelines defined in the legislation. The European Commission will eventually decide which of the substances from ECHA's recommendation to include in the Authorisation List and on the respective conditions applicable for each substance.
During the public consultation there is also the possibility to provide input for a call for information, by the European Commission, on the possible socio-economic consequences of the inclusion of the substances in Annex XIV. Such information will be passed on directly to the Commission and is not considered by ECHA in the recommendation process.
- The full name of this Candidate List entry, including clarification on which substances are covered, can be found at the Candidate List. echa.europa.eu
MALVERN INSTRUMENTS’ NEW ZETASIZER HELIX COMBINES DYNAMIC LIGHT SCATTERING AND RAMAN SPECTROSCOPY FOR ADVANCED PROTEIN STRUCTURE ANALYSIS
The new Zetasizer Helix from Malvern Instruments is a powerful tool for early stage biopharmaceutical development that enables the detailed study of mechanisms of protein aggregation. This new system combines industry-leading Zetasizer dynamic light scattering (DLS) technology, for sizing of proteins and other biomolecules, with Raman spectroscopy. Raman spectroscopy enables monitoring of the changes in secondary and tertiary protein structure. The combination of DLS and Raman spectroscopy allows measurement of protein size and structure from a single small volume sample, providing unique insight into protein folding, unfolding, aggregation, agglomeration and oligomerization. Such detailed information supports both the effective application of Quality by Design and the efficient development of biosimilars. Raman spectroscopy delivers information on protein unfolding by monitoring the variations in molecular vibrations that result from changes in secondary and tertiary protein structure. The combination of dynamic light scattering with Raman spectroscopy characterizes a wealth of chemical, structural, and physical parameters of biotherapeutic proteins under formulation conditions - at high concentrations up to 100 mg/ml and using a wide range of buffers and excipients. Parameters measured include: secondary and tertiary protein structure; melting temperature; onset temperature of aggregation; and transition enthalpy values; as well as aggregation propensity and protein solubility. The Zetasizer Helix is the latest commercialized product to emerge from Malvern’s Bioscience Development Initiative (BDI), a collaborative research program dedicated to providing solutions to the evolving needs of the biopharmaceutical industry. A key priority for the industry is obtaining a greater understanding and control over the formulation process, a need exacerbated by the increasing adoption of QbD. By allowing users to fully scope protein behaviour within a formulation the Zetasizer Helix provides insight at the molecular level as to which variables trigger, for example, oligomerization and aggregation, supporting a QbD approach.
ODOUR FREE EVAPORATION ON YOUR LAB BENCH
Genevac has announced a proprietary odour reduction function for its EZ-2 evaporator which enables it to be sited on the open bench rather than taking up valuable fume hood space. Many solvent evaporators are routinely sited inside fume extraction hoods because residual solvent vapour, remaining in the chamber at the end of a run, can expose the operator to potentially harmful odours when the system is opened. The EZ-2’s Reduce Odour function automatically adds a repeated vent and vacuum cycle to the end of a method, which purges the evaporation chamber of residual solvent vapours. Three settings are available to optimise vapour removal without releasing trapped solvent from the cold trap. The EZ-2 evaporator draws on the expertise of Genevac’s engineers and the experiences of many scientists in the laboratory. Using advanced evaporation science, it has been designed specifically for productive, sample-safe solvent removal, be that concentration of samples, or complete drying. Genevac’s long experience in vacuum engineering has resulted in the creation of a compact sample concentrator combining great performance, ease of use and compatibility with all commonly used solvents and acids. Compatible with a wide range of sample holders the EZ-2 easily integrates within the workflow of any laboratory. Smart evaporator software with auto-stop provides true walk-away automation - so simple and sample safe that anyone can use it with confidence. Featuring up to 10 on board solvent specific evaporation programmes the EZ-2 automatically controls vacuum and temperature to enable rapid evaporation of a wide range of solvents whilst preventing bumping and cross contamination. As well as the reduce odour option - users may also optimise their method for specific applications such as solvent keep, and to prevent over drying when handling volatile analytes. Options are also available to enable routine, safe removal of potentially explosive solvents such as diethyl ether or pentane and removal of acids including concentrated hydrochloric acid (HCl).
HIGH VACUUM BENCHTOP SOLVENT EVAPORATOR
The EZ-2 Elite Centrifugal Evaporator from Genevac has been designed to provide unmatched final drying of stubborn samples and fast lyophilisation of HPLC fractions. Benefiting from a high performance scroll pump, that delivers deep vacuum, the EZ-2 Elite is able to routinely remove even very high boiling solvents such as DMSO and NMP. In addition internal heating of vapour duct and system components ensures that such challenging solvents only collect in the SpeedTrap™ condensor, and not anywhere else. The SpeedTrap condenser on the EZ-2 Elite comes the benefit of automatic defrost and drain technology. The EZ-2 controls the SpeedTrap and the Elite solvent collection vessel offering mid-method defrosting and draining. Using the EZ-2 Elite SpeedTrap - the Genevac LyoSpeed™ method of fast lyophilisation of HPLC fractions is possible on an EZ-2 Evaporator. The EZ-2 Elite is able to concentrate or completely dry samples. The system is compatible with a wide selection of sample holders enabling evaporation from most common sample container formats including round-bottom flasks up to 500ml, tubes up to 160mm long, custom reaction blocks as well as shallow and deep-well microplates. To meet the need of the many life science companies switching their compound generation programmes from serial chemistry to parallel synthesis, the EZ-2 Elite is also able to take tubes, flasks and vials directly from the synthesis process, eliminating a manual handling step, increasing recoveries and removing the chance of cross contamination. Running the EZ-2 Elite is highly intuitive. Just load your samples, select maximum safe temperature for samples, select solvent type and hit start. Offering true unattended operation capability the EZ-2 Elite requires no user training, even a beginner can competently use the system within 5 minutes.
YMC CHIRAL TECHNOLOGIES LABORATORY
With an investment of some 5 million Euro, YMC proudly announces to take up operations for customer support in all aspects related to analytical and preparative chiral chromatography. Ideally located just opposite to international Kyoto Convention Center, the new facility will incorporate analytical services, ?such as application support and method development as well as scale-up to process chromatography. Services also include custom purification / toll manufacturing in gram and kilogram scale. Apart from state-of-the-art "conventional" HPLC instrumentation, also SFC and SMB technologies will be available to adress virtually any chiral separation condition.
THE NEW VISCTOOL
Traditionally liquid handling systems reach their limits when it comes to dispensing viscous samples. Standard pipetting tools cannot handle highly viscous materials with the required precision. Many applications including the pipetting of oils, the preparation of samples of healthcare products, the development of formulations of lubricants and the distribution of polymers demand the precise pipetting of highly viscous materials. ViscTool has been developed in house to meet all the technical requirements needed to dispense highly viscous solutions: -It can be operated using disposable syringes from various suppliers or precision glass syringes; -Volume range is from 100µl to 50ml; -Dispensing volumes start from 1µl; -Very high resolution (>80.000 steps/cm); -Under full WinLissy® Software control for optimum accuracy and precision; -Melted solids; -Prefilled tips with grease/pastes. The new ViscTool can be upgraded onto all of our previously installed automatic workbench systems.
MAKE CLEANING YOUR BALANCE EASY
Every part of a METTLER TOLEDO balance is carefully engineered to provide customers with outstanding benefits - like total ease of cleaning. No matter how often customers need to clean their balance, it should be quick and easy. Mettler Toledo balance's special design features ensure effortless dismantling, cleaning and reassembly, the company assures. A short video is published to see how simple it is and claim a free cleaning kit with all the tools you need to make the job even easier: a brush, a microfiber cleaning cloth and wet wipes.
UPDATE ON ECOSYN PROJECT
Eosin is a two-year project supported by some €1mio funding from the European Research Commission with the aim of developing novel, eco-friendly synergists which can be combined with existing insecticides for use against insect pests in agriculture and public health. Coordinated by Italian chemical company Endura SpA’s Head of R&D Dr Valerio Borzatta, other members of the European consortium include AgrochemAccess (UK), Ankara Advanced Technologies Investment (Turkey), Babolna Bio (Hungary), Alan Dewar Crop Protection (UK), Rothamsted Research (UK), Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore (UCSC, Italy) and Bee Research Institute (Vyzkumny Ustav Vcelarsky - Czech Republic). The project started on 1st October 2013 and has been marked by excellent cooperation from all consortium members, each of which has a key part to play. Drawing on its expertise in chemical synthesis and years of experience with the well-known synergist piperonyl butoxide (PBO), Endura has so far synthetised in its laboratories over 50 potential new synergists of which 5 of them seems to be quite promising. Rothamsted is guiding this chemical synthesis programme by computer modelling studies which have identified the structures most suited to bind with receptors within the insect and by testing these hypotheses in vitro. Further laboratory trials in vivo against whitefly and aphids are being carried out by UCSC to verify the in vitro findings. The next step will be field trials against agricultural insects which are planned for the end of 2014 and early 2015 and will be organised in UK, Central Europe and Turkey by Agchem Access and other Ecosyn participants. One important factor to evaluate is the impact of the synergised formulations on bees and other beneficial insects.
NOVASEP WINS APPROVAL TO PRODUCE NEW MOLECULAR ENTITY FOR US MARKET
Novasep has announced that it has successfully completed FDA (US Food and Drug Administration) pre-approval inspections carried out at two of its sites in France. Novasep is now an authorized producer of a new molecular entity (NME) already approved in the US. The inspection concerned a multi-site project Novasep manages for synthesizing and purifying a kinase inhibitor active ingredient. The FDA inspections took place during June 2014 at Novasep’s Chasse-sur-Rhone and Pompey sites in France. The Chasse-sur-Rhone site is responsible for the synthesis of late stage intermediates and the active pharmaceutical ingredient (API), while the Pompey site takes charge of the last purification step. “These two FDA inspections, along with those we successfully passed in 2013 at our plants in Le Mans, Mourenx and Leverkusen, show that Novasep operates a high-performance quality management system in line with Good Manufacturing Practices. We achieve this level of performance not only at these sites but across all of the group's different sites” said Jean Claude Romain, VP Quality at Novasep and added: “Our teams at Novasep invest in and conduct continuous upgrades to ensure that ever stricter regulatory standards meet the highest level of compliance at all Novasep plants”. “We are proud of the results achieved during these two FDA inspections” said Thierry Van Nieuwenhove, president of the Synthesis BU at Novasep. This positive outcome is a real testimony to Novasep’s strength in offering specialized technologies and its ability to combine expertise and skills across all of its sites. For this particular success, the CSR team aligned its skills and long experience in the scale-up, validation and commercial launch of APIs in collaboration with Pompey, our centre of excellence for cGMP chromatographic purification. Novasep has a genuine know-how in bringing together top European quality level services and technologies”.
THE FUTURE IS HERE TODAY
As the range of microscopy techniques increases, Olympus has made major advances across its extensive product groups to enable all users to benefit easily from every protocol. This is especially true for stereomicroscopy, where Olympus has left no stone unturned in designing the Olympus SZX16: completely dedicated to modern research. The primary aim of any microscope user is to see details on their sample that aren’t visible to the naked eye. The SZX16 is designed to do this better than any other stereomicroscope available, for both brightfield and fluorescent techniques. Its larger lenses enable significantly increased numerical apertures (NAs) which greatly increase the collection of light signals from the sample. As a result, with the Olympus SZX16, it is possible to resolve up to 900 linepairs per millimetre which means that you can see more detail in your sample than previously possible. But this is only part of the story – the advanced zoom mechanism developed by Olympus means that the resolution at any point on the magnification scale is greater than ever before. Images are documented from stereomicroscopes using a single light-path. This results in sub-optimal images on the camera chip due to the ‘tilted’ nature of the light paths in stereomicroscopes. With the SZX16 though, a small movement of the objective sends an ‘untilted’ perpendicular image to the camera. This enables the documentation of a perfect version of the image seen through the eyepieces, with the same resolution. The addition of dedicated microscope cameras, such as the Olympus DP73, produces the ultimate stereomicroscope-based imaging system.
VANDEMARK CHEMICAL INC. ACQUIRES FRAMOCHEM
VanDeMark Chemical Inc. has announced that it has acquired, Framochem Kft, a leading European-based manufacturer of phosgene products, based in Hungary. The purchase unites two companies with complementary product offerings and creates one of the world’s largest, independent manufacturers of products based on phosgenation chemistry. These compounds are widely used in the pharmaceutical, agricultural-chemical, personal care, polymer and fine chemical industries. Michael Kucharski, CEO of VanDeMark Chemical, said: “This acquisition combines a North American leader with a European leader to give us greater size and scale across more geographies. By combining these two companies, we are marrying VanDeMark’s particular strengths in the custom side of the market with Framochem’s substantial offering in the catalogue chemical business – all of which makes a compelling, single-source offering for our customers for phosgene products worldwide”. Christopher P. Fuller, Managing Partner of Uni-World Capital, VanDeMark’s largest private equity owner and sponsor of the transaction, added: “In a sense, we are reuniting these two companies – along with the business rationale and global customer base – since both VanDeMark and Framochem were originally part of the French state-owned enterprise SNPE”. Framochem was a subsidiary of ISOCHEM S.A.S., a company of the Munich-based AURELIUS Group (ISIN DE000A0JK2A8). As part of the transaction, VanDeMark has also acquired a sales office in Germany, ISOCHEM Deutschland GmbH. With a combined total of 22,000 tons in annual production capacity for phosgene, VanDeMark and Framochem together will be one of the world’s largest producers of fine chemicals focusing on phosgenation chemistry.
JOHNSON MATTHEY PROCESS TECHNOLOGIES: NEW PLANT IN BRAZIL WILL MAKE CATALYSTS FOR HYDROGEN PRODUCTION TO MEET INCREASING DEMAND FROM REFINERIES
Johnson Matthey is pleased to announce that it has established a site for a new catalyst plant in Brazil. As part of Johnson Matthey Process Technologies, the factory will initially manufacture catalysts for hydrogen production. The facility is expected to start operating by the end of 2014, and will initially employ around 15 people. Across the world, ‘on purpose’ hydrogen capacities in refineries is increasing due to tighter fuel specification, the processing of heavier and sourer crudes, increasing need for lighter crude oil products and strong demand for chemical intermediates. This investment is an integral part of the company’s ongoing development in refinery hydrogen plant catalysis in conjunction with Petrobras, exploring options to further improve hydrogen plant efficiency, reliability and throughput. Geoff Otterman, Divisional Director commented: “For a long time we have recognised the strategic importance of Brazil and South America. This investment demonstrates our long term commitment to manufacturing in Brazil. Beyond this, it is our intention to expand our manufacturing capability here to include products such as catalysts and adsorbents for gas to liquids and gas purification”. This investment builds on our nine existing catalyst manufacturing plants across six countries, and complements existing capacity expansions at these sites.
I-SERIES - THE NEW DRIVER OF I-VOLUTION IN HPLC ANALYSIS
Shimadzu has introduced the i-series integrated HPLC and UHPLC systems (Ultra High Performance Liquid Chromatograph). The i-series concept combines innovation, intuition and intelligence for applications in food, environmental, chemical and pharmaceutical industries. The analyzers are designed to meet the needs of any analytical environment with high speed, outstanding performance, maintainability and economics. The intuitive operation of the systems allows even in experienced operators to easily obtain high quality data. he i-series (U)HPLC systems will help users to improve their workflow with automation, high throughput, ecological features and compatibility with mobile devices while maintaining adaptability with existing methods for easy transfer. In addition to the uncompromised efficiency and quality of analysis, operators benefit from intuitive operation of the colour touch panel, remote monitoring and control by smartphone or tablet PC as well as advanced start-up and shutdown functions. These features make the i-series an intelligent instrument which fits both, large labs requiring high throughput operation (i.e. pharmaceuticals, CROs and food & environmental labs) as well as small labs which cannot afford dedicated operators. The i-series increases productivity, e.g. in R&D, quality control and safety testing, while minimizing operators’ workload, cost of ownership and environmental impact.
BIONET: DATABASES UPDATED
The BIONET Biochemicals, BIONET Research Intermediates, BIONET Fragments and BIONET Screening databases have been updated with the new compounds that were added during July. Complete databases in zipped sdf format, as well as individual product lines’ new additions in sdf and pdf formats, are available now from company’s downloads page. There you will also find sub-sets to product lines such as Screening Compounds and Fragments.
NEW METHOD FOR BIOMONITORING OF PHTHALATE METABOLITES IN HUMAN URINE USING ISOLUTE® ENV+ SOLID PHASE EXTRACTION COLUMNS
To facilitate the high throughput population screening of phthalate metabolites, sample preparation methods need to be simple, sensitive and robust to mitigate matrix suppression and instrument down time common to many dilute and shoot approaches to mass spectrometry. Thus, a solid phase extraction procedure was developed for these analytes. This application note details the optimization strategy for nine phthalate metabolites. Proof-of-concept for this sample preparation method was determined on a set of real patient samples (n=5). The results were in general agreement with previously reported concentration ranges for these compounds. It is anticipated that this method will have significant impact in environmental bio monitoring strategies for these analytes.
SOLVAY OPENS RESEARCH & INNOVATION CENTER AT KOREA'S EWHA WOMANS UNIVERSITY, FORGING SCIENCE AND INDUSTRY TIES
Solvay has opened its new Research & Innovation (R&I) centre at Ewha Womans University in South Korea, putting the Group in a prime position to work closely with key Asian customers and universities to develop products for the booming battery, electronics and car markets. The R&I centre in Seoul is Solvay's fourth in Asia and will employ some 60 scientists by the end of 2015. Based at the campus of Ewha, the world's oldest and largest women's university with origins in 1886, Solvay will have access to a strong national and international network with universities and research institutes. Moreover, it brings Solvay close to leading industrial players and customers in the strategically located country and region, which facilitates partnerships to develop products and solutions according to their specific needs. The R&I centre will harbour Solvay's new electronics laboratory to develop Organic Light Emitting Diodes (OLED) display and lighting technologies, following its recent acquisition of Plextronics. Research will also target materials for the high-growth, high value-added markets of lithium-ion batteries to enable optimal energy storage, and the development of new materials that reduce energy use of cars. "Solvay's ambition to become a global, innovative leader will clearly benefit from exchanging and enriching know-how with researchers and industries here in South Korea" said Jean-Pierre Clamadieu, CEO of Solvay and added: "Our world-class R&I centre and unique partnership with such a top university as Ewha, are key in strengthening Solvay's position in Asia". The opening of the centre comes after Solvay and Ewha signed their agreement in 2011. It also includes the move of Solvay's Global Business Unit Special Chemicals to the campus, from where it will serve as a hub in the region.
AMRI COMPLETES ACQUISITION OF OSO BIOPHARMACEUTICALS MANUFACTURING
AMRI has announced that it has completed the acquisition of Oso Biopharmaceuticals Manufacturing, a former portfolio company of Altaris Capital Partners, LLC. The transaction is consistent with AMRI’s strategy to be the preeminent supplier of custom and complex drug product development and manufacturing services to the pharmaceutical industry. OsoBio is recognized as a premier contract manufacturer of highly complex injectable drug products and their expertise in large-scale commercial production is highly complementary to AMRI’s early stage drug product manufacturing capabilities. Customers will benefit from access to a single source to address their sterile fill/finish needs from Phase 1 development complete to commercial supply. Total consideration paid was $110 million. AMRI financed the transaction with cash on hand. AMRI anticipates full year run-rate synergies of approximately $3.0 million of EBITDA within 12 months of closing and the acquisition is expected to be accretive to AMRI’s 2014 adjusted diluted EPS. AMRI intends to provide investors with updated 2014 guidance for the combined company when it releases its second quarter 2014 financial results on August 5, 2014.
UMICORE COBALT & SPECIALTY MATERIALS STRENGTHENS ITS POSITION IN NORTH AMERICA
Umicore has announced the acquisition of the business and assets of CP Chemicals in Wickliffe, Ohio. CP Chemicals is a refiner and recycler of cobalt and nickel containing secondary materials such as superalloy scrap and transforms these into chemicals for the catalyst and petrochemical refining industries. CP Chemicals also recycles rhenium from superalloy turbine blades used in the aviation industry. The business, which employs 40 people, will be integrated in Umicore’s Cobalt & Specialty Materials business unit. The acquisition enables Umicore to establish new cobalt and nickel recycling capabilities in North America which will supply its existing product businesses. This fits with Umicore’s overall strategy to close the loop and with the business unit’s strategy to strengthen its position along the cobalt and nickel value chain, from recycling to transformation and distribution. Joe Patrick, President and CEO of CP Chemicals Group, commented: “The transition of our business to Umicore creates an exciting opportunity for our company and employees to advance our position in the market of specialty materials recycling. Umicore's competences and global footprint in the cobalt and nickel specialty chemicals markets provide the ideal collaboration for the growth of our business”.
VERTELLUS INTRODUCES TWO NEW NATURAL OIL POLYOLS
Vertellus has announced the introduction of two new natural oil polyols that have been developed primarily for 2 component solvent borne Industrial Maintenance applications. Polycin® XP 100 LV and Polycin® XP 200 LV are 100 percent solids castor oil-based polyols that were developed as cost effective reactive diluents in SB acrylic and polyester systems to lower VOC’s and increase solids. When suitably formulated, solvent borne urethanes incorporating 20-30 percent of the Polycin reactive diluent offer unsurpassed viscosity reduction and excellent gloss and colour retention in QUV accelerated weathering testing, workable pot life and good initial colour. Vertellus also continues to promote their first generation product, Polycin® T-400, as a proven reactive diluent for industrial maintenance applications. This product maintains or increases film hardness in most formulations at a lower viscosity reduction when compared to the new Polycin® XP series.
A unique collaboration between catalyst researchers from Albemarle Corporation, Delft University of Technology, Haldor Topsoe, FEI Company and Leiden Probe Microscopy has led to an innovative new method for studying catalyst dynamics under actual operating conditions. The process uses a technique called high-resolution electron microscopy to monitor changes in the catalyst structure during the catalytic process. Unlike conventional electron microscopy, which has considerable pressure and temperature limitations, this new technique allows scientists to view these reactions under real-life conditions. "This breakthrough technology allows us to monitor actual catalyst behaviour in a manner that simply was not possible before" said Bart Nelissen, global analytical director for Albemarle and added: "These new insights will ultimately allow us to manufacture more value-added catalysts to meet the specific needs of our refinery customers". "This significant breakthrough is a perfect example of how collaboration pushes innovation" said Edwin Berends, vice president of Albemarle's Catalyst Solutions Research and Technology group and added: "By bringing together the brightest catalyst researchers from both industry and academia, we have greatly accelerated research advances that benefit the entire field of catalysis". This collaborative initiative, which is referred to as NIMIC (Nano-IMaging under Industrial Conditions), was commissioned by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research and the SenterNovem to promote and support novel, atomic-scale research in physical, chemical and biological processes. A detailed technical article discussing this research has been published in the July issue of Nature Materials.
INFA GROUP - ULKAR KIMYA
INFA GROUP, assisted by its local partner KURA LTD, and ULKAR KIMYA part of the Turkish Group NOBEL ILAC, have expanded the scope of their strategic alliance to include R&D activities. By this new agreement ULKAR KIMYA will give INFA GROUP access to its R&D Labs and pilot plant for INFA generic APIs pipeline development. “Given the very positive results obtained during the first year of cooperation, we are extremely pleased to consolidate and expand our alliance with ULKAR KIMYA – commented Daniele Cardoso – Chairman of INFA GROUP – where we plan to allocate several strategic R&D projects in the coming months”. ULKAR KIMYA and NOBEL ILAC Chairman, Mr. Hasan Ulusoy, has expressed his goodwill to this alliance and commented that “Being in the Turkish pharmaceutical market for 50 years, we had a very smooth and creative alliance with INFA GROUP and we are pleased to increase this collaboration with R&D activities”.
AGTC AND SAFC CREATE STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIP TO PROVIDE GENE THERAPY MANUFACTURING SERVICES
Applied Genetic Technologies Corporation, a clinical stage biotechnology company developing adeno-associated virus (AAV)-based gene therapies for the treatment of rare eye diseases, and SAFC Commercial, the Sigma-Aldrich Corporation business unit that manufactures specialty chemicals and biologics for commercial life science applications, have announced that they signed an agreement to have SAFC provide gene therapy manufacturing services to companies developing gene-based therapies. Under the terms of the agreement, the two companies will co-market AGTC’s proprietary HAVE manufacturing method with SAFC’s cGMP manufacturing capabilities. AGTC will assist clients in engineering AAV-based vectors and the associated helper viruses for HAVE-based manufacturing activities. SAFC will manufacture AAV vectors with the HAVE system to either support initial research or in accordance with cGMP requirements to support clinical trial development and eventual commercial production. Through this partnership, clients will also have access to bio-manufacturing testing services from BioReliance, SAFC’s biologics and early-development services business. “AGTC has established an effective and productive relationship with SAFC to manufacture AAV-based vectors for our own portfolio of gene-based product candidates for rare eye diseases” said Sue Washer, President and CEO of AGTC and added: “AAV vectors have broad potential in treating a variety of genetic diseases, but until recently, could not be manufactured at clinical and commercial scale in a cost-effective manner. Our proprietary HAVE system overcomes these difficulties. In partnering with SAFC, we can now make our AAV manufacturing platform available to academic and corporate organizations that are pursuing gene-based therapies. SAFC is an excellent partner for this endeavour because it is a leading biologics CMO, has substantial expertise with our HAVE system and is known for providing a high level of service to its contract manufacturing customers”. “SAFC is committed to providing our customers with high-quality and timely cGMP manufacturing services,” said David M. Backer, Sr. Director & General Manager at SAFC.
EVONIK AND CHINESE PARTNER GCL PLANNING TO BUILD PLANTS FOR SILICON COMPOUNDS IN CHINA
Evonik Industries and Jiangsu Zhongneng Polysilicon Technology Development Co. Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of GCL-Poly Energy Holdings Limited (GCL-Poly), have signed a letter of intent to establish a joint venture for the production of fumed silica and ultra-pure silicon tetrachloride in China. Evonik will hold a 60 percent share in the joint venture. The plants, which will have an annual capacity of over 20,000 metric tons, will be built in Xuzhou (Jiangsu Province, China) and are scheduled to start-up operation in 2016. The entire project has yet to be approved by the executive bodies. As a listed company on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (stock code: 3800 HK), GCL-Poly specializes in the generation of green and conventional energy. Jiangsu Zhongneng, a wholly owned subsidiary of GCL-Poly, is a global leading manufacturer of polycrystalline silicon (PCS). Silicon tetrachloride is a byproduct of PCS production, and the joint venture will purchase this to produce AEROSIL® fumed silica and Siridion® STC HP ultra-pure silicon tetrachloride. “By making the planned investment we are aiming to further strengthen our market position for fumed silica and ultra-pure silicon tetrachloride and to promote growth, particularly in the attractive Chinese market” said Klaus Engel, CEO of Evonik Industries and continued: “In GCL we have found a strong partner for this […] Dedicated to promoting the application of solar energy worldwide, GCL-Poly is the largest global supplier of photovoltaic materials. This cooperation can combine Evonik’s advanced technologies of producing silica and ultra-pure silicon tetrachloride with Jiangsu Zhongneng’s leading technologies of silicon material production. The partnership will enhance GCL-Poly’s overall competitiveness by diversifying the silicon products, better serving its main business, and meeting market demand” said Zhu Gongshan, Chairman of GCL-Poly.
ANALYTIK JENA CLOSED THIRD QUARTER BELOW EXPECTATIONS
Analytik Jena AG has closed the third quarter 2013/2014 below expectations. After nine months in the financial year 2013/2014, the Thuringian manufacturer of analytical measuring technology, life science instruments and optoelectronics generated consolidated revenue of EUR 89.7 m (previous year: EUR 71.3 m). Although this was 25.8 percent more than in the comparable period of the previous year, the revenue increases resulted primarily from the project business of subsidiary AJZ Engineering, which was again fully consolidated and whose remaining shares (51.0 percent) Analytik Jena AG reacquired on October 2, 2013 and in which it now again holds 100.0 percent. In its core instrument business, Analytik Jena Group generated revenue of EUR 74.6 m after nine months of the financial year, corresponding to 4.7 percent more than in the previous year (previous year: EUR 71.3 m). Consolidated within this is the revenue of the UVP Group, which had not yet been included in the first six months of the previous year. Both the largest business unit Analytical Instrumentation and the Consumer Optics business with the DOCTER® brand, which is included in the Optics business unit, recorded revenue declines after nine months. On the Group level Analytik Jena AG achieved earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) of EUR 4.3 m (previous year: EUR 5.6 m). Earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) amounted to EUR 0.6 m (previous year: EUR 2.3 m). The operating result was negatively affected particularly by lower organic revenue in all three business units and respective losses after nine months in Life Science and Optics. All in all, the Group recorded a consolidated net loss in the first nine months of the financial year of EUR 3.3 m (previous year consolidated net loss: EUR 0.6 m). Analytik Jena AG expects revenue in the instrument business of more than EUR 100.0 m for the current financial year 2013/2014. Not taken into account in this forecast is the revenue expected from the project business. Despite the unsatisfactory earnings development after nine months, Analytik Jena continues to expect an operating profit (EBIT) of around EUR 3.0 m based on the forecast and order entries in the fourth quarter.
NEW BASCAT LABORATORY OPENS AT TU BERLIN
On the South Campus of Technical University (TU) Berlin, BASF together with the Cluster of Excellence “Unifying Concepts in Catalysis” (UniCat) today opened the new BasCat Laboratory building. On about 1,000 square meters of laboratory and office area, 17 scientists will in future be researching the principles of heterogeneous catalysis for raw material change. BASF and TU Berlin are devoting considerable resources to establishing the BasCat Laboratory: BASF is investing up to €6.4 million during the first five years. The total volume is around €13 million. “Heterogeneous catalysts make many chemical reactions more cost effective and environmentally compatible or even possible in the first place. Especially in this time of increasingly scarce resources, energy and raw material efficiency are playing an ever more important role” says Dr. Peter Schuhmacher, President Process Research and Chemical Engineering at BASF. “Together with our internationally prestigious partners, we want to generate fundamental scientific knowledge of the activation of less reactive molecules to accelerate the development of industrially relevant catalysts over the long term.” The research partners include working groups from the natural and engineering sciences, e.g. at the Institutes of Chemistry, Process Technology and Material Sciences at TU Berlin, and in the Inorganic Chemistry Department of the Fritz Haber Institute. “The spirit of research and discovery at UniCat is becoming the centre of gravity of catalysis research in Germany, not least due to the BasCat Laboratory, which is developing new experimental and theoretical solutions for raw material change” says Professor Dr. Matthias Drieß, spokesperson of the UniCat Cluster of Excellence. “In the UniCat Cluster of Excellence, synergies between chemical and biological catalysis are being researched to make innovative contributions to the energy transition and in active substance research”.
CARBOGEN AMCIS EXPANDS OPERATIONS IN SWITZERLAND
CARBOGEN AMCIS has announced plans to take over operations of a high-containment facility located in Vionnaz, Switzerland, 70 kilometres East of Geneva: CARBOGEN AMCIS ¦ Route du Simplon 24 ¦ CH-1895 Vionnaz ¦ Switzerland. The high potency facility in Vionnaz opened in December 2005 and was formerly managed by Bachem AG as an integrated part of their site in Vionnaz. Designed to operate at OEL < 0.1μg/m3 8h-TWA, the unit is cGMP-compliant and inspected by Swissmedic and by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). CARBOGEN AMCIS has signed an agreement to officially take over control of this unit. Operations are slated to start later this fall. “We are facing a significant increase in the demand for high potency services, spurred by the fast-paced growth of the Antibody Drug Conjugates (ADCs) market. The expansion in Vionnaz will ensure we can continue to fulfil customer needs and expectations while our company continues to grow and expand.” commented Mark Griffiths, CEO CARBOGEN AMCIS and added: “Our partners will benefit from additional high potency capabilities available at the Vionnaz facility such as high potency laboratories, cGMP kilo-scale manufacturing, as well as larger scale lyophilisation ”. The Vionnaz unit is dedicated to the development and manufacture of highly potent APIs and can accommodate projects from gram to multi-kilo scale. The facility is completely independent and features a process development laboratory, a dedicated QC laboratory and two production units fitted with reactors up to 30 L, as well as a freeze dryer for lyophilisation and chromatography.
HIGH SPECIFICATION ULTRA SAFE PRESSURE REACTOR
Asynt announces PressureSyn – the new, state-of-the-art, 125ml working volume high pressure reactor that uniquely combines outstanding performance, ease of use and the highest level of operational safety for users. Designed by chemists and engineers at the internationally renowned University of Nottingham (UK), PressureSyn reactors provide an ideal tool for stirred, or non-stirred, high pressure applications including hydrogenations, carbonylations, catalyst screening and polymerisations. Precision engineered in the UK, from traceable certified 316 stainless steel, the standard safety features of PressureSyn include a bursting disk and pressure relief valve. PressureSyn reactors feature a unique bracket and key operated locking system ensuring easy assembly. However, this novel clamping arrangement also prevents the clasp from being disassembled whilst the reactor is still under pressure. Each reactors locking collar has a unique key which ensures only that key can be used to open that specific individual reactor. With customer safety paramount, each individual PressureSyn reactor is tested to 170bar, witnessed and certified by Zurich Insurance, and is rated for use up to a maximum pressure of 100bar and temperature of 200°C. A special DrySyn adapter plate ensures secure placement of the PressureSyn to any standard hotplate stirrer, giving enhanced heat transfer and the ability to control temperature from the stirrer’s temperature probe. An optional PTFE reduction adapter/sleeve is available for small volume chemistry.
HIGH PERFORMANCE MULTI-POSITION REACTION BLOCK
The DrySyn MULTI from Asynt converts any standard hotplate stirrer into a high performance reaction block accommodating 3 round-bottomed flasks* or up to 12 reactions in tubes or vials. The DrySyn MULTI's combination of flexibility, productive performance and safety at a truly affordable price is particularly popular in R&D departments for parallel synthesis as well as in teaching and open-access laboratories, where a single compact reaction station can provide heating facilities for several users. Incorporating an ingenious three-way clamp makes it quick and easy to secure flasks in place using the DrySyn MULTI. In addition DrySyn MULTI's shallow well shape increases reaction visibility and minimises the possibility of glass failure. Made of chemically resistant, anodized aluminium, DrySyn MULTI heating blocks offer excellent heating performance to over 300ºC and can heat a reaction flask faster than an oil bath and with less energy consumption. Providing excellent heating and stirring performance but without the inherent risks and mess of an oil bath, DrySyn MULTI heating blocks help lab scientists create a safer, cleaner and more efficient working environment. The DrySyn MULTI also offers a flexible, safe alternative to using heating mantles.