IHS Chemical Week


Weekly Chemical Industry Innovation News Round-up, April 13

8:37 AM MDT | April 13, 2012 | By ALEX SCOTT

This week has seen Gevo (Engelwood, CO) file an additional lawsuit against isobutanol rival Butamax Advanced Biofuels (Wilmington, DE). It is part of a year long patent battle between the two companies which stated in February 2011 when Butamax filed a suite claiming Gevo infringes on Butamax patents covering biocatalysts used in the production of isobutanol. "Our patented yeast is encouraged to produce greater yields of isobutanol,” says Brett Lund, executive v.p. & general counsel of Gevo. “Our scientists proved that by successfully eliminating unwanted, competing enzymatic pathways, we could redesign an isobutanol-producing yeast to be more efficient.” The only sure thing now about the case is that the lawyers will be among the winners.

Electroactive polymers (EAPs) are not something that we have written that much about on CW, but Bayer MaterialScience's push into this field of material science is worth a closer look. EAPs are polymers which change form in response to an electric current. Interestingly, EAPS can also generate electricity in response to a change in form. The company has had its own EAP development program running for years but boosted its presence with the 2010 acquisition of Californian EAP tech start-up AMI. Initial applications are in electronic gaming devices and cell phones, but the long term play could be in pumps as well as wave energy devices. 

In an interesting pharmaceutical contract manufacturing development, Lonza has been selected to undertake process development and manufacture of a biopharma drug candidate for Agennix (Heidelberg, Germany). Lonza is the second supplier selected to produce the drug following a similar deal by Agennix earlier in the year featuring DSM.

On the GM development front, researchers at Rothamsted Research (Harpenden, U.K.) have developed GM wheat to repel aphids. In China, researchers fromFudan University (Shanghai) have developed GM cotton with longer fibers as part of plans to reduce dependence on the import of high quality, long fiber cotton.

Solvay has developed small hydrogen peroxide units for on-site production.


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