TREATMENT TO REPAIR BRAIN DAMAGE IN MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS PATIENTS POSSIBLE AFTER NEW STUDY
A new treatment to repair brain damage caused by multiple sclerosis (MS) could be possible according to a new study by scientists at Edinburgh University. Scientists have learned more about how to regenerate protective sheaths around nerve fibres in the brain, known as myelin, which is broken down in MS patients. This protective sheath is pivotal for the quick transmission of nerve signals, enabling vision, sensation and movement. The study discovered that immune cells, known as macrophages, help trigger the regeneration of myelin. Researchers found that following loss of or damage to myelin, macrophages can release a compound called activin-A, which activates production of more myelin. University of Edinburgh's Medical Council Centre for Regenerative Medicine Dr Veronique Miron said the research could lead to drugs being developed to target and enhance myelin regeneration. "Approved therapies for multiple sclerosis work by reducing the initial myelin injury, they do not promote myelin regeneration," Miron said. "This study could help find new drug targets to enhance myelin regeneration and help to restore lost function in patients with multiple sclerosis." More than 100,000 people in the UK have multiple sclerosis (MS) and because of this suffer with mobility, balance and vision problems. There is no cure but current treatments concentrate on limiting the damage to myelin and slowing the progression of the disease. This study, which used human tissue samples in mice, was funded by the MS Society, the Wellcome Trust and the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada. The next step for scientists is to plan and start further research to look at how activin-A works and whether its effects can be enhanced. Full details of the study are published in Nature Neuroscience. MS Society of Canada research vice-president Dr Karen Lee said: "We look forward to advances in treatments that address repair specifically, so that people with MS may be able to manage the unpredictable symptoms of the disease."
WHEN GREEN ALGAE RUN OUT OF AIR
When green algae “can’t breathe”, they get rid of excess energy through the production of hydrogen. Biologists at the Ruhr-Universität Bochum have found out how the cells notice the absence of oxygen. For this, they need the messenger molecule nitric oxide and the protein haemoglobin, which is commonly known from red blood cells of humans. With colleagues at the UC Los Angeles, the Bochum team reported in the journal “PNAS”.
Haemoglobin – an old protein in a new look
In the human body, haemoglobin transports oxygen from the lungs to the organs and brings carbon dioxide, which is produced there, back to the lungs. “However, scientists have known for years that there is not just the one haemoglobin”, says Prof. Thomas Happe from the Work Group Photobiotechnology. Nature has produced a large number of related proteins which fulfil different functions. The green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii has what is known as a “truncated” haemoglobin, the function of which was previously unknown. Happe’s team has deciphered its role in surviving in an oxygen-free environment.
In an oxygen-free environment, the green alga activates specific genes
When Chlamydomonas has no oxygen available, the algae transfer excess electrons to protons, creating hydrogen (H2). “For this to work, the green alga activates a certain gene programme and creates many new proteins”, Happe explains. “But how exactly the cells even notice that oxygen is missing is something we did not know.” The research team looked for genes that are particularly active when green algae have to live without oxygen – and found a gene that forms the blueprint for a haemoglobin. In an oxygen-rich environment, however, this gene was completely idle.
A haemoglobin and nitric oxide help green algae to survive
The scientists studied the haemoglobin protein and its genetic blueprint in more detail using molecular biological and biochemical analyses. “One thing became clear very quickly”, says Dr. Anja Hemschemeier from the Work Group Photobiotechnology. “Algae in which we switched this gene off could hardly grow without oxygen.” From previous studies it is known that in many organisms, haemoglobin detoxifies nitric oxide, because an overdose of this gas poisons the cells. The biologists therefore tested whether green algae which are no longer able to form haemoglobin after genetic manipulation die of nitric oxide poisoning. Their expectations: the green algae should fare better if the gas is removed using a chemical scavenger. “Surprisingly, then the algae were not able to grow at all”, says Hemschemeier. The researchers concluded that, under oxygen-free conditions, haemoglobin and nitric oxide are in cahoots.
Nitric oxide signals: “no oxygen!”
Nitric oxide acts in many living organisms as a signalling molecule – apparently also in green algae. Experiments in vitro have shown that the green algal haemoglobin interacts with nitric oxide. When the researchers artificially introduced the gas to the single cell organisms, certain genes became active that are otherwise only “turned on” in the absence of oxygen. “From all this data we can conclude that Chlamydomonas uses nitric oxide to pass on the ‘no oxygen!’ signal within the cell, and that our haemoglobin is involved in this process”, Happe sums up. His team wants to go on exploring the role of this protein in green algae, as the biologists have discovered another eleven haemoglobin genes in the organism. “Now things are really getting going”, says the Bochum scientist. “The map of haemoglobin research has many blank spots that we want to fill with content. The fact that a single cell requires twelve haemoglobin proteins indicates that these fulfil finely tuned functions in the cell.”
THALIDOMIDE AND INDIAN SPICE TURMERIC COMBINED CAN KILL CANCER CELLS, SAY SCIENTISTS
Structural features from anti-nausea drug thalidomide combined with kitchen spice turmeric can create hybrid molecules that effectively kill multiple myeloma cells, say researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University Massey Cancer Center, who carried out a preclinical study. Due to previous laboratory studies, it is known that curcumin, an active ingredient in turmeric, interferes with several important molecular pathways and inhibits the formation of cancer-causing enzymes in rodents. However, it is limited because of its poor water solubility. It is also known that thalidomide disturbs the microenvironment of tumour cells in bone marrow, but that it also disintegrates in the body. "But the combination of thalidomide and curcumin in the hybrid molecules enhances both the cytotoxicity and solubility," said study lead researcher Shijun Zhang, assistant professor in the Department of Medicinal Chemistry at the VCU School of Pharmacy. Compared to mixing multiple drugs, creating hybrid molecules has certain advantages, including enhanced potency, reduced risk of developing drug resistance, improved pharmacokinetic properties, reduced cost and improved patient compliance. "Overall, the combination of the spice and the drug was significantly more potent than either individually, suggesting that this hybrid strategy in drug design could lead to novel compounds with improved biological activities." Multiple myeloma is a cancer of plasma cells where collections of abnormal plasma cells accumulate in the bone marrow and interfere with the production of normal blood cells. It is more common in men, and for unknown reasons is twice as common in African-Americans as it is in European-Americans. Thalidomide, which was first introduced in the 1950s as an anti-nausea medication to help control morning sickness, was taken off the shelves in 1982 because it was found to cause birth defects. The drug was reintroduced as a stand-alone or combination treatment for multiple myeloma in the 1990s. Turmeric is an ancient spice grown in India and other tropical regions of Asia and has a long history of use in herbal remedies. Recently, it has been studied as a means to treat arthritis and Alzheimer's disease. Scientists found that the hybrid molecules of turmeric and thalidomide created more than 15 compounds, each with a different effect. However, compounds 5 and 7 exhibited superior cell toxicity compared to curcumin alone or the combination of curcumin and thalidomide. Most notably, the compounds were found to induce significant multiple myeloma cell death. "Overall, the combination of the spice and the drug was significantly more potent than either individually, suggesting that this hybrid strategy in drug design could lead to novel compounds with improved biological activities," said study researcher Steven Grant. "The results also strongly encourage further optimisation of compounds 5 and 7 to develop more potent agents as treatment options for multiple myeloma," added Grant. The full details of the study are published in the journal Organic & Biomolecular Chemistry.
ENDOCANNABINOIDS TRIGGER INFLAMMATION THAT LEADS TO DIABETES
NIH scientists identify possible treatment target for type 2 diabetes
Researchers at the National Institutes of Health have clarified in rodent and test tube experiments the role that inflammation plays in type 2 diabetes, and revealed a possible molecular target for treating the disease. The researchers say some natural messenger chemicals in the body are involved in an inflammatory chain that can kill cells in the pancreas, which produces insulin. A report of the finding appears online in Nature Medicine. “This study is a significant milestone in an ongoing exploration of the endocannabinoid system’s role in the metabolic complications of obesity,” says Kenneth R. Warren, Ph.D., acting director of NIH’s National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), which led the study. Endocannabinoids are natural messengers in the body that help regulate many biological functions. They are chemically similar to the active compound in marijuana. Recent studies have tied endocannabinoids to the metabolic problems that lead to diabetes. Researchers also have recognized that inflammation appears to play an important role in the pathology of diabetes. “The identities of the molecular and cellular actors in the inflammatory processes that underlie type 2 diabetes have remained elusive,” explains senior author and NIAAA scientific director George Kunos, M.D., Ph.D. “Our study connects endocannabinoids to an inflammatory cascade leading to the loss of beta cells in the pancreas, which is a hallmark of type 2 diabetes.” Working with a strain of genetically obese rats that serve as a model for human type 2 diabetes, Dr. Kunos and his colleagues used a combination of pharmacological and genetic tools to show that endocannabinoids trigger receptors on macrophages in the pancreas. Macrophages are immune system cells, present in all tissues that rid the body of cellular debris and pathogens. “Like various other peripheral tissues, such as the liver, skeletal muscles, pancreas, and fatty tissue, macrophages have receptors for endocannabinoids,” explains Dr. Kunos. The researchers demonstrated that endocannabinoid activation of macrophages in the pancreas leads to activation of a protein complex within macrophages called the Nlrp3 inflammasome. The inflammasome, in turn, releases molecules that cause the death of pancreatic beta cells and the progression of type 2 diabetes in the rats. “When we treated the rats with compounds that deplete macrophages or block all peripheral cannabinoid receptors, inflammasome activation and type 2 diabetes progression was slowed,” noted Dr. Kunos. In test tube experiments, the researchers showed that macrophages from humans and mice produced the same inflammasome response when they were incubated with endocannabinoids. However, mouse macrophages that were genetically altered to lack cannabinoid receptors or inflammasomes generated no such response. Most notably, the researchers showed that by selectively blocking the expression of cannabinoid receptors on macrophages, they could protect and restore beta cell function in the genetically obese rats, which delayed the development and reduced the severity of their diabetes. The authors conclude that the findings point to a key role in type 2 diabetes for endocannabinoid-induced inflammasome activation in macrophages, and identify cannabinoid receptors on macrophages as a new therapeutic target. “To understand type 2 diabetes, a public health threat that affects young and old alike, we need to consider all the factors at play,” said Monica Skarulis, M.D., staff clinician at National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases and co-author. “We hope that what we’ve learned from this research will help us develop new strategies to prevent and treat the condition.” In addition to Dr. Kunos’ team of NIAAA scientists and Dr. Skarulis, co-authors on the study included researchers from the University of Colorado Medical Campus, Aurora, and the University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, part of the National Institutes of Health, is the primary U.S. agency for conducting and supporting research on the causes, consequences, prevention, and treatment of alcohol abuse, alcoholism, and alcohol problems. NIAAA also disseminates research findings to general, professional, and academic audiences.
NEW PERSPECTIVES AGAINST TRANSPLANT REJECTION
New scientific results that could one day allow transplanted patients to avoid side effects caused by immunosuppressive therapy were presented at the International Congress of Immunology in Milan. Researchers are testing regulatory cells that can be followed once infused in patients: by doing this, it will be possible to understand if these cells survive and reach their goal, which is convincing the immune system to ignore extraneous tissues coming from the donor. Transplants may save many lives but also require to be followed by life-long treatments, in order to avoid rejection. However, these treatments indiscriminately inhibit the whole organism’s defence, exposing it to the risk of infections and tumours. The research group led by Maria Grazia Roncarolo, from the San Raffaele Telethon Institute for Gene Therapy, presented new data that confirm, on patients, the results obtained in the laboratory and published on Nature Medicine a few months ago. The anti-rejection approach developed by the researchers is more specific than the one presently employed, since it uses particular regulatory cells – called Tr1 – to block only the immune response that could become dangerous in a specific case, instead of suppressing the whole immune system. “These cells,” explains Maria Grazia Roncarolo, who firstly discovered them when she was working at the DNAX Research Institute of Molecular and Cellular Biology di Palo Alto, in California, “can be used in order to teach the organism to tolerate the transplanted organ, as well as those tissues that become targets for the autoimmune reactions, like in the case of type 1 diabetes. This strategy has already been tested in bone marrow transplants, where donor’s immune cells, infused in the patient to cure diseases like leukemia and lymphoma, attack the patient himself, in a condition called “graft versus host disease”. “This is not the only possible therapeutic application for Tr1 cells, since they can induce a specific tolerance that allow the body to defend itself from viruses and bacteria,” continues Roncarolo. “For instance, there are on-going studies concerning inflammatory intestinal diseases like Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis. Once infused, however, it is necessary to know if the Tr1 cells survive within the organism and continue to carry out their function, keeping the immune system at bay. In the study published on Nature Medicine, some specific markers were described for these cells; it is now known demonstrated that these markers really help to follow Tr1 cells once infused in the patients. Tr1 regulatory cells are not the only cells that can be used to induce specific tolerance. Many other laboratories all over the world are running experimentations with other types of cells in order to reach the same goal, which could allow to free many patients from side effects due to immunosuppressive therapy and to cure those affected by autoimmune or inflammatory diseases. “Different strategies will be compared in a great European study, called The one study, and will be tested on patients undergoing kidney transplantations with very similar features,” says Roncarolo. Her group is in the front line to demonstrate the efficacy of Tr1 cells.
STEM CELLS ENGINEERED TO BECOME TARGETED DRUG FACTORIES
Researchers inserted modified strands of messenger RNA into connective tissue stem cells—called mesenchymal stem cells—which stimulated the cells to produce adhesive surface proteins and secrete interleukin-10, an anti-inflammatory molecule. When injected into the bloodstream of a mouse, these modified human stem cells were able to target and stick to sites of inflammation and release biological agents that successfully reduced the swelling. “If you think of a cell as a drug factory, what we’re doing is targeting cell-based, drug factories to damaged or diseased tissues, where the cells can produce drugs at high enough levels to have a therapeutic effect,” said research leader Jeffrey Karp, PhD, a Harvard Stem Cell Institute principal faculty member and Associate Professor at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, and Affiliate faculty at MIT.
Karp’s proof of concept study, published in the journal Blood, is drawing early interest from biopharmaceutical companies for its potential to target biological drugs to disease sites. While ranked as the top sellers in the drug industry, biological drugs are still challenging to use, and Karp’s approach may improve their clinical application as well as improve the historically mixed, clinical trial results of mesenchymal stem cell-based treatments.
Mesenchymal stem cells have become cell therapy researchers’ tool of choice because they can evade the immune system, and thus are safe to use even if they are derived from another person. To modify the cells with messenger RNA, the researchers used the RNA delivery and cell programming technique that was previously developed in the MIT laboratory of Mehmet Fatih Yanik, PhD. This RNA technique to program cells is harmless, as it does not modify the cells' genome, which can be a problem when DNA is used (via viruses) to manipulate gene expression.
“This opens the door to thinking of messenger RNA transfection of cell populations as next generation therapeutics in the clinic, as they get around some of the delivery challenges that have been encountered with biological agents,” said Oren Levy, PhD, co-lead author of the study and Instructor of Medicine in Karp’s lab. The study was also co-led by Weian Zhao, PhD, at University of California, Irvine who was previously a postdoctoral fellow in Karp’s lab.
One such challenge with using mesenchymal stem cells is they have a “hit-and-run” effect, since they are rapidly cleared after entering the bloodstream, typically within a few hours or days. The Harvard/MIT team demonstrated that rapid targeting of the cells to the inflamed tissue produced a therapeutic effect despite the cells being rapidly cleared. The scientists want to extend cell lifespan even further and are experimenting with how to use messenger RNA to make the stem cells produce pro-survival factors.
“We’re interested to explore the platform nature of this approach and see what potential limitations it may have or how far we can actually push it,” Zhao said. “Potentially, we can simultaneously deliver proteins that have synergistic therapeutic impacts.”
MOBIUS STRIP TIES LIQUID CRYSTAL IN KNOTS TO PRODUCE TOMORROW'S MATERIALS AND PHOTONIC DEVICES
University of Warwick scientists have shown how to tie knots in liquid crystals using a miniature Möbius strip made from silica particles.
By tying substances like this in knots, researchers hope to understand how their intricate configurations and unique properties can be harnessed in the next generation of advanced materials and photonic devices.
Liquid crystal is an essential material in modern life – the flat panel displays on our computers, TVs and smartphones all make use of its light-modulating properties.
It is composed of long, thin, rod-like molecules which align themselves so they all point in the same direction. By controlling the alignment of these molecules, scientists can literally tie them in a knot.
To do this, they simulated adding a micron sized silica particle – or colloid – to the liquid crystal. This disrupts the orientation of the liquid crystal molecules.
For example, a colloid in the shape of a sphere will cause the liquid crystal molecules to align perpendicular to the surface of the sphere, a bit like a hedgehog's spikes.
Using a theoretical model, the University of Warwick scientists have taken this principle and extended it to colloids which have a knotted shape in the form a Möbius strip.
A Möbius strip with one twist does not form a knot, however with three, four and five twists it becomes a trefoil knot (like an overhand knot with the ends joined together), a Solomon's knot or a cinquefoil knot respectively.
By adding these specially designed knotted particles they force the liquid crystal to take on the same structure, creating a knot in the liquid crystal.
Gareth Alexander, Assistant Professor in Physics and Complexity Science, at the University of Warwick said: "Knots are fascinating and versatile objects, familiar from tying your shoelaces.
"Recently it has been demonstrated that knots can be created in a variety of natural settings including electromagnetic fields, laser light, fluid vortices and liquid crystals.
"These knots are more intricate than those in your shoelaces, since it is the entire continuous material, and not just a piece of string, that is knotted.
"Our research extends this previous work to apply to liquid crystal, the substance we use every day in our TVs, smartphones and computer screens.
"We are interested in this as creating and controlling these intricate knotted fields is an emergent avenue for the design of new metamaterials and photonic devices."
DRYING OF OIL, FUEL AND FAT SAMPLES
Genevac, world leaders in solvent removal technology, has over 20 years’ experience of supplying evaporators for removal of solvents from oil, fat and fuel samples. Oils, fats and fuels are normally isolated from natural sources using extraction or separation techniques that present the final sample in a solution of organic solvent. Before analysis such samples must be dried or concentrated. Whether extracting and recovering additives, evaluating lipid content of foods, characterising reclaimed cooking oils before reprocessing / conversion to biofuels, or investigating drillling test samples - oils, fuels and fats can often prove difficult to dry without using very high temperatures which may lead to loss of the more volatile fractions within the sample. For many such applications, researchers have found that the Genevac EZ-2 and Rocket Evaporators have significantly enhanced recovery and results. When working with larger solvent volumes, additional benefit is gained by way of productivity savings when using Genevac evaporators with SampleGenie technology which enables large volumes to be concentrated or dried directly into a small vial. Many oil and fat analyses require use of potentially explosive solvents, such as di-ethyl ether. These can be safely evaporated in Genevac systems fitted with the Inert Gas Purge option, which removed all the air from the system before use, replacing it with inert gas and thereby preventing incident.
ROUTINE GENERATION OF POWDER SAMPLES FROM HPLC FRACTIONS
Genevac reports that its HT Series II Evaporator using the Fast Lyophilisation, or LyoSpeed™ process is enabling a growing number of pharmaceutical labs to routinely dry HPLC fraction samples to a powder form, such that the samples can then be accurately weighed, easily sub-sampled and redissolved. When working with certain HPLC solvents, such as water and acetonitrile, a fully dried result can be hard to achieve due to interactions with the dissolved sample - resulting in the formation of a gum or oil. To provide a rapid, high-throughput alternative to freeze drying HPLC purification fractions - Genevac developed its proprietary fast lyophilisation (LyoSpeed™) methodology for use on the HT Series II Evaporators. While LyoSpeed™ works well for most hydrophilic samples, difficulties may arise where the sample cannot dissolve in only water. In such situations, when the organic solvent is removed, the sample crashes out forming an oil which until now required further processing to achieve the desired dry powder form. For such samples and to improve LyoSpeed results generally - Genevac developed the SuperCool 75 which chills to -75C and operates at higher power than any other commercially available condenser. Customer trials have shown that the Genevac HT Series II Evaporator / SuperCool 75 combination produces powdered lyophilisation samples using the LyoSpeed methodology from even the most difficult to handle samples with a success rate as high as 95 percent.
THE DRÄGER X-DOCK
Dräger is launching a new product, which will help the chemical industry stay on top of the testing and calibration of its portable gas detection instruments, at the same time as saving time and money. The Dräger X-dock is an instrument calibration and management system, which allows companies to complete automatic bump testing and calibration in seconds, using just a fraction of the test gas traditionally used with many other systems.
INTRODUCING THE NEW SHIMADZU LCMS-8050
Shimadzu, one of the world leaders in analytical instrumentation, will release the LCMS-8050, a triple quadrupole LCMS/MS. This new system incorporates proprietary ultrafast technologies as well as a newly developed ion source and collision cell technology. As the flagship model of Shimadzu’s UFMS (Ultra-Fast Mass Spectrometry) product line, the LCMS-8050 features high sensitivity, high data quality and the world’s fastest data acquisition rates. The LCMS-8050 meets the growing demand for trace-level quantitation in clinical research and other markets.
NEW VERSION OF METRA-SUM
Titan Enterprises has announced a new version of its Metra-Sum - a low-cost, battery powered, totalising flowmeter for monitoring the delivery of almost any type of liquid. Titan Enterprises has engineered the Metra-Sum to precisely monitor the delivery or dispense of liquids including viscous oils, syrups and non-conducting solvents. The sensor uses two precision contra-rotating oval gear wheels in an inert moulded polyethersulphone body. This gives the Metra-Sum excellent flow measurement accuracy, independent of liquid viscosity or temperature, and a wide operating flow range from 0.15 to 4 Litres/min.
INCREASING ACCESS TO VALCYTE
The Medicines Patent Pool and healthcare company Roche have announced an agreement to increase access to Valcyte (valganciclovir), a key medicine to treat cytomegalovirus (CMV). CMV is a viral infection that can result in loss of vision and greater risk of death in people living with HIV. This infection affects around 1 in 10 people living with HIV in low-and middle-income countries. The supply agreement between the Medicines Patent Pool and Roche will substantially improve access to an easy-to-take oral medicine to treat CMV, Valcyte – by making it up to 90 percent cheaper in 138 developing and emerging countries than it is currently available.
NANOPARTICLE TRACKING ANALYSIS
St George's, University of London, is the UK's only independent medical and healthcare higher education institution. Dr. Bridget Bax is a senior research fellow in the Clinical Sciences Division where the main focus of her group's research is to improve the understanding of the pathogenic mechanisms of rare inherited diseases and to develop novel therapies for translation into the clinical setting. Describing her work Dr. Bax said: "We have used several methods in the lab to isolate both exosomes and microparticles. We needed a reproducible method that would allow us to i) quantitate and size the extracellular vesicles we isolated and ii) determine whether the isolation technique employed affected these parameters. Nanoparticle Tracking Analysis has allowed us to quantify extracellular vesicles with diameters in the range of 50 to 1000 nm. This was particularly important for us because we specifically wanted to study exosomes which have a diameter ranging from 40 to 100 nm".
IMCD & SOLVAY
IMCD Group is delighted to announce that it has entered a Pan-European distribution partnership with Solvay Specialty Polymers for its Tecnoflon® FKM product range used in the rubber industry. Effective immediately, this agreement will cover market segments including automotive, aerospace, energy and oil & gas, where high purity and long service life are essential. Solvay’s decision to appoint IMCD Group as the Pan-European distributor for the FKM range was based on the necessity for comprehensive technical expertise in order to effectively promote and sell into this specialised market.
NEW TRACXER CODE READER TS201
Micronic has announced the launch of the new Tracxer Code Reader TS201 - an attractively designed product for reading the 2D Data-Matrix codes of single 24-, 48- and 96-well format sample storage tubes. The Tracxer Code Reader TS201 is able to automatically scan and decode any 2D Data-Matrix code making this code reader adaptable to almost any application. Using the keyboard wedge high-end decoding engine ensures that the 2D decoding process is highly reliable thereby producing unmatched data integrity. The company explains that the compact (26cm x 13cm x 17cm), robust and stable design of the Tracxer Code Reader TS201 combined with affordable pricing makes it an ideal choice for any laboratory / storage facility requiring high integrity scanning of 2D Data-Matrix coded storage tubes.
EVONIK’S EXPANSION IN SINGAPORE
Evonik Industries has announced a significant expansion of its Jurong Island, Singapore oil additives plant, to be completed in early 2015. With on-going improvement and debottlenecking projects scheduled to be finalized during the first half of 2014, these optimizations and the planned expansion will nearly double the capacity of the oil additives plant in Singapore. "As a market and technology leader in high-performance additives, we’re strengthening our position in Asia. Our expansion strategy supports the growth of our customers directly from a modern, efficient local production centre, with logistics that make a contribution to resource efficiency at the same time" says Dr. Thomas Haeberle, Executive Board member of Evonik with responsibility for the company’s Resource Efficiency segment.
ACQUISITION OF CAPITOL INGREDIENTS AUSTRALIA PTY LTD
IMCD Group B.V. is delighted to announce that it has completed the acquisition of Capitol Ingredients Australia Pty Ltd, a Sydney headquartered speciality ingredients distributor focused on the nutraceuticals, personal care, food and pharmaceutical markets of Australia and New Zealand. Capitol Ingredients will be consolidated with staff from the IMCD Personal Care team and will run as a separate division of IMCD ANZ. Mr Fred Johnson, founder of Capitol Ingredients, comments: “We are very excited to have the opportunity to join forces with such a reputable international player like IMCD as it will enable us to strengthen our presence in the market through expanding our current network and gaining additional leading suppliers”.
WATERS SPONSORS FELLOWSHIP AT UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA
Waters Corporation has announced sponsorship of a new, two-year, postdoctoral Clinical Chemistry Fellowship at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine. Fellows will be trained in classical clinical chemistry, laboratory administration and research practices to prepare them for directorship positions at medical schools or hospital-based clinical chemistry laboratories. “Our mission is to develop the next generation of leaders in clinical chemistry” said Robert Fitzgerald, Ph.D., DABCC, UC San Diego School of Medicine professor of pathology and faculty coordinator of the new Clinical Chemistry Fellowship program.
BASF IS DOING WELL
BASF increased sales by 3 percent in the second quarter of 2013 to just under €18.4 billion thanks to higher sales volumes in all segments.
Heraeus is going to introduce its high-quality platinum labware and its widest range of analytical lamps. The company explains that environmental monitoring ensures that dangerous chemicals in water are controlled and used in accordance with the legal safety regulations. Water analysis is also becoming increasingly important for marine research and the fishing industry. The new HighPower FiberLight provides high UV light output and a compact size for sensitive analyses in mobile spectrometers. They refer that FiberLight is a very compact light source for UV light and the visible spectral region (from 200 to 1100 nanometers). The heart of a FiberLight is an electrodeless deuterium lamp, which is stimulated by high frequency. The construction of this miniature lamp enables mobile UV spectroscopy with portable, battery-operated devices.
ALFA LAVAL…IN INDIA
Alfa Laval has won an order to supply Alfa Laval Packinox heat exchangers to a petrochemical plant in India. The order is booked in the Process Industry segment and has a value of approximately SEK 185 million. Deliveries are scheduled for 2013 and 2014. “This is the second large order, within a short period of time, for our highly energy-efficient Alfa Laval Packinox heat exchangers. This order proves that our customers value the superior performance of Packinox heat exchanger in the demanding petrochemical and refinery applications” says Lars Renström, President and CEO of the Alfa Laval Group.
FIRST RUSSIAN PRODUCTION FACILITY IN LIPETSK
Rhein Chemie has officially opened its first Russian production facility in Lipetsk. There, the company is to produce Rhenogran (pre-dispersed, polymer-bound additives) for the rubber processing industry, a product line that is highly successful all around the world. The company explains that Rhenogran helps rubber processors making their production more safe and cost-effective. Using Rhenogran also significantly increases the quality of rubber components and improves their long-term functionality and durability.
THE FIRST QUARTER OF 2013/14 HAS BEEN GOOD
Tim Stevenson, Chairman of Johnson Matthey, will make the following statement on the group's trading in its first quarter covering the period from 1st April 2013 to date: "Performance in the first quarter of 2013/14 across the group has been good. Sales excluding precious metals (sales) were up 13 percent at £745 million with growth across all of the divisions. The group’s underlying operating profit grew by 10 percent to £116.1 million (Q1 2012/13 restated £105.6 million). Underlying profit before tax was 8 percent ahead at £106.0 million (Q1 2012/13 restated £98.2 million)”. The group's balance sheet remains strong and at 30th June 2013 net debt was £881 million, in line with our expectations.