compiled by Carrie Meadows

Asyst reels in multiple 200 mm orders
Asyst Technologies, Inc., a leading supplier of integrated automation systems for semiconductor and flat-panel display manufacturing, has announced that its 200 mm products have been selected by multiple semiconductor fabs including EM Microelectronic of Switzerland, Shanghai Huahong NEC Electronics Co., Ltd. (HHNEC) of China, and additional semiconductor fabs in China and Russia. The aggregate multi-million dollar orders include SMIF loadports, indexers, and wafer stockers. SMIF products have better than ISO Class 1 particle performance, low cost of ownership, and improved tool utilization.

Avecia OligoMedicines expands manufacturing capabilities

Avecia OligoMedicines will be expanding its Milford, MA, manufacturing facility, further extending its capabilities in siRNA and aptamer manufacturing. The company has installed new cleavage deprotection vessels and equipment to enable large-scale siRNA manufacture in batch sizes of 75 to 100 mmol. The facility upgrade also includes two new chromatography skids and associated equipment, enabling high pressure/high temperature purification, and new duplexation/annealing vessels to enable controlled siRNA duplexation in batch sizes up to 150 mmol. Additionally, large-scale conjugation/pegylation capacity has been installed covering the range up to 100 mmol. The new equipment and facilities are expected to be online by September 1.

DuPont introduces FDA-compliant PLA modifier for food packaging

DuPont Packaging has announced expansion of its DuPont™ Biomax® Strong family of polymer additives to include an FDA-compliant grade for food contact applications. New DuPont™ Biomax® Strong 120 is a polymer additive that toughens bio-based polylactic acid (PLA) packaging materials while maintaining compliance with food contact requirements in the United States and in Europe. A similar additive was introduced in August 2006 for non-food applications. Both grades of Biomax® Strong provide improved toughness performance with minimal reduction in package clarity.

Mass. Governor pledges $1B in biotech funding over next decade

At last month’s 2007 BIO International Convention in Boston, MA, Governor Deval Patrick proposed a “Life Science Strategy” that calls for $1 billion in funding over the next 10 years for biotech research, which includes a plan to establish a stem-cell bank. Patrick indicated that the program is intended to fill gaps left by reduced funding from the National Institutes of Health. According to a release from the Governor’s web site, approximately $500 million would go toward the purchase of new equipment for higher education and other institutions, which could be shared with firms in the life science industry. Another $250 million would be allocated for research grants, training, and other initiatives, and $250 million would go toward matching grants for fellowships and research. It is estimated that $250 million will come in the form of tax benefits.