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Fight metabolic diseases
Servier collaborates with Harvard researchers

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Servier and Harvard researchers will embark on a three-year preclinical research project where the ultimate objective is to develop therapeutics targeting the microbiota for the treatment of type 2 diabetes and NAFLD. The work will be conducted by a multidisciplinary team of researchers from both parties. The research team at Harvard University will be led by Emily P. Balskus, Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, and the team at Servier will be led by Philippe Delerive, Head of Research for Cardiovascular and Metabolic Diseases. The collaboration combines the expertise of Servier researchers in the field of metabolism and drug development with Prof. Balskus’ expertise in chemical discovery relating to the gut microbiome. Together, the parties hope to make important advances in understanding disease biology and to use emerging technologies to develop new treatment options for diseases with high unmet medical need.

“Gut microbiota is an untapped resource for the identification of novel targets in the field of metabolic diseases. It opens up new perspectives for the development of increasingly precise and personalized innovative therapies. The close collaboration between our researchers and academic researchers from Harvard represents a major step in this direction, for the ultimate benefit of patients,” stated Servier Group Executive Vice-President Research & Development, Claude Bertrand.

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) affects over 25% of the world’s population. The condition, in which too much fat is stored in the liver, is very often linked to excess weight and/or type 2 diabetes. This, in turn, is due to the build-up of fatty acids and scar tissue, which can lead to steatohepatitis (NASH), cirrhosis and, in some cases, to the development of liver cancer. Currently there are no therapies available to patients for this disease.

This collaboration is a project under the strategic alliance established between Servier and Harvard University in 2017. Under the terms of the alliance agreement, Servier will support multi-year research projects initiated by Harvard faculty and focused on the development of innovative treatments in its therapeutic fields of expertise. Servier selected this project through a call for proposals.

Servier has been involved in the research and development of innovative therapeutics against non-insulin diabetes (type 2 diabetes) for over 40 years. Identifying new therapeutic targets in this field is one of Servier’s priorities, as well as research of specific therapeutic solutions to diabetes-linked complications such as diabetic nephropathy or non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

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Fabrication and testing capabilities
Intermolecular stockholders approve acquisition by Merck

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Merck, a science and technology company, announced that its proposed transaction with Intermolecular, was approved by the stockholders of Intermolecular at a special meeting held on July 17, 2019. On May 6, 2019, Merck had signed a definitive agreement to acquire Intermolecular through a subsidiary for $1.20 per share in an all cash transaction, representing an equity value of approximately $62 million.

“We are very pleased with this positive development of Intermolecular’s stockholders approving our acquisition proposal. Uniting our existing strength in the materials business with Intermolecular’s unique processes and R&D capabilities will allow us to create game changing innovations in the electronics material space. Together, we expect to provide our customers with an enhanced combination of material and process know-how strengthening our service provider capabilities,” said Kai Beckmann, member of the Executive Board of Merck and CEO of Performance Materials.

The transaction is expected to close in the second half of 2019, subject to regulatory clearances and the satisfaction of other customary closing conditions. Intermolecular is a California-based company leading in advanced materials innovation. Intermolecular possesses application specific materials expertise, accelerated learning and experimentation platforms with powerful analytics infrastructure that perfectly complement the business and technology portfolio of Merck’s Performance Materials business. Intermolecular’s fabrication and testing capabilities allow for material combinations to be tested directly within the specific target application for semiconductors, consumer electronics, aerospace and many other industries. In comparison to conventional methods these capabilities translate to major time reductions in the development process, dramatically accelerated learning cycles and insights into novel material systems to provide customers with a unique service value.

Merck will acquire Intermolecular through its subsidiary EMD Group Holding II.

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Filtech 2019: Trade fair and conference
Filtration and separation technology

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Picture: Filtech Exhibitions
Picture: Filtech Exhibitions

Filter solutions provide are an important cornerstone of hygienic production environments, as required in the pharmaceutical and other process industries. Filter solutions often lead a niche existence at other trade fairs; at Filtech it is just the opposite, here they take center stage. As part of the trade fair, which takes place from 22nd to 24th of October 2019, Cologne will once again become the meeting point of the global filtration and separation industry with users from all relevant sectors. The organizer expects more than 400 exhibitors on 14,000 square meters of exhibition space. Filtech continues to grow – also in terms of visitor numbers.

Filtech 2019 conference

An important part of Filtech 2019 will be the well-established conference; once again presenting the latest advances and techniques in the dust, gas and air filtration. The English-language conference is organized in parallel to the exhibition from the 22nd to the 24th of October. Participants benefit from high-level technology and knowledge transfer and get the opportunity to get to know future trends and perspectives. The Filtech 2019 conference presents more than 200 technical papers, a plenary lecture and several keynote lectures by leading experts as well as plenty of opportunities to network with peers.

Lectures and Keynotes

During the three-day conference, a variety of presentations will be held on the following main topics: solid-liquid separation, solid-gas separation, testing / instrumentation / control, simulation and modeling, membrane processes and product-related processes as well as other special topics .

The conference will be opened by the chairman of the Scientific Committee of Filtech, Dr. Ing. Harald Anlauf, Academic Director of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT). He will give a plenary lecture on “Centrifugation – Key Technology for solid/liquid/liquid separation”.

Other noteworthy talks include the four planned keynotes, presented by renowned experts from research and industry. Dr.-Ing. Stefan Haep, CEO of the Institute for Energy and Environmental Technology (IUTA), will hold a lecture on “Air Quality Control & Aerosols”. Prof. Dr. Hermann Nirschl, Head of the Department of Process Engineering of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), presents the question “Digitalization of Centrifuges – Helpful or senseless?”. Dr.-Ing. Götz Bickert, director of the Australian company GBL Process Pty, deals with the topic “Dewatering of Concentrates and Tailings – Large Scale Duties in the Mining Industry”. Prof. Dr. Arunangshu Mukhopadhyay of the National Institute of Technology, Jalandhar, India, will give a lecture on “Enhancing Filter Media Performance during Industrial Gas Filtration”.

Interested parties can register for participation in the conference on the website of Filtech www.filtech.de be performed. Reduced ticket prices for early bird registrations (early bird) apply until 31st July.

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Financing of the planned acquisition
Merck places bonds

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Merck, a science and technology company, today successfully placed bonds amounting to € 2.0 billion. The placement is a component of the financing of the planned acquisition of Versum Materials, which was announced in April 2019.

The placement comprises three tranches: a fixed-rate bond with a maturity of four and a half years amounting to € 600 million and paying a coupon of 0.005%, a second tranche of € 600 million with a maturity of 8 years, paying a coupon of 0.375% as well as a third tranche of € 800 million with a maturity of 12 years, paying a coupon of 0.875%. On June 18, Merck had already placed a euro hybrid bond amounting to € 1.5 billion to finance the planned acquisition.

“Following the successful placement of hybrid bonds two weeks ago, we have made use of the favorable market environment in order to finalize the financing of the planned acquisition of Versum. We’re resolutely pursuing our conservative financial policy further,” said Marcus Kuhnert, Member of the Executive Board and Chief Financial Officer of Merck.

The bonds issued today were significantly oversubscribed and achieved a well-diversified distribution among a wide range of institutional investors such as fund managers, insurance companies, pension funds, and banks. Bookrunners of the transaction were Merck’s relationship banks.

The acquisition of Versum is expected to strengthen the Performance Materials business sector. Versum is a leading supplier of innovation-driven, high-purity process chemicals, gases and equipment for semiconductor manufacturing. The transaction is expected to close in the second half of 2019, subject to regulatory clearances and the satisfaction of other customary closing conditions.

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