Ohhhhhhhhh~ Miami!
Jan21

Ohhhhhhhhh~ Miami!

Informex got off to a glorious start last night with a cocktail reception at the Skydeck here in Miami. So far, the big story is that the annual conference and exhibition survived being in Anaheim last year, a choice of venue that I like to think of as a kind of ironic joke at my expense. We are only getting started, with the day of business and technical presentations that precedes the exhibition hall days at Informex. The event, now organized by UBM Live, is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, by the way--a testimony to the strength of the fine chemicals community within the "Chemical Enterprise". This is in no small part thanks to the efforts of the Society of Chemical Manufacturers and Affiliates, which, when it was the Synthetic Organic Chemical Manufacturers Association, introduced Informex in, I believe, Atlanta (a few card tables and I think you were allowed to smoke). SOCMA grew Informex to fill a sizable exhibit hall every year, regularly holding it in New Orleans for a good stretch before handing the reins over to UBM. Which reminds me of a cab ride in Las Vegas when Informex hit that city some years back. My cab driver asked what show I was in to see. Me: Informex. It's the Synthetic Organic Chemical Manufacturers Association meeting. Driver: Oh. Driver [following ten minutes of silence]: Can a chemical be synthetic and organic? Me: Good question. I was particularly impressed today with Maximillian Yeh's presentation on highly-potent active ingredients. Yeh is a North American account director with Evonik based in San Francisco. I also liked the talk Stephen DeSalvo, the U.S. marketing director of Fabbrica Italiana Sintetici  (FIS), gave on that company’s recent investments in everything from an anti-cancer active pharmaceutical ingredients pilot plant to Delmar Chemicals, an API producer near Montreal. FIS, with headquarters and primary manufacturing in Vicenza, Italy, is investing heavily in building Delmar into a North American sister site with capabilities similar to those it has in Italy. The two talks touched on themes that are dominant now in the fine chemicals sector—specialization and expansion. I will be giving a talk tomorrow at 3:00 pm in “Theater 1” at Informex titled, “State of the Vibe in Pharma Chem”. In it, I will expand on these two themes and others as I gloss the changes in the pharmaceutical sector and those in the field of fine chemicals. One delightful surprise so far was a visit from Walter “Skip” Mongen, a sales executive with C&EN for many years who retired about five years ago. Skip hit the Skydeck on Monday. We reminisced about the night...

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This Week on CENtral Science: chemistry sets, lab safety culture and more
Dec20

This Week on CENtral Science: chemistry sets, lab safety culture and more

Tweet of the Week: Being asked to explain my 'if you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate' shirt going through airport security :/ — Renée Webster (@reneewebs) December 19, 2013   On to the network: Newscripts: Amusing News Aliquots and Heirloom Chemistry Set and In Print: Balloon Returns Home, Earthshaking Stadium The Safety Zone: CSB report on Chevron refinery fire urges new regulatory approach and Assessing changes in lab safety culture and Is academic lab safety culture improving? The Watch Glass: Toys—Growing Outlet for Plastics and Flu Fighters and Chemistry Sets (1970) and Antifreeze Proteins Help Snow Fleas Get Through...

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This Week on CENtral Science: World Cell Race, #chemsafety galore, and more
Dec13

This Week on CENtral Science: World Cell Race, #chemsafety galore, and more

Tweet of the week: I like to think of it not as a paper but as a pre-retraction. — Vinylogous (@vinylogous) December 9, 2013   To the network: Cleantech Chemistry: Genomatica Partners up the Slope of Enlightenment and Big Companies Binging on Microbes Newscripts: In Print: Mushroom Wrapping And Sound Zapping and Amusing News Aliquots and Aaaaaand They’re Off: The 2013 World Cell Race Results. And congratulations to Lauren for landing a spot in Nature Chemistry's Top 10 Chemistry Blog Posts of 2013! The Safety Zone: Unforgettable reagent moments and Lab safety is critical in high school, too and The University of Minnesota shows off its safety culture The Watch Glass: Phosphonitrilic Chemistry and Strip Mines and Biochemical Studies of Aging and...

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This Week on CENtral Science: solar news, ionic liquid hazards, and more
Dec06

This Week on CENtral Science: solar news, ionic liquid hazards, and more

Tweet of the week: Q: How do you integrate teaching and research? A: teaching ∫research dx - ∫(teaching' ∫research dx) dx. Plus a constant. — Tehshik Yoon (@TehshikYoon) December 6, 2013 On to the network: Cleantech Chemistry: Easy Holiday Shopping for Positive Solar News Newscripts: Amusing News Aliquots and In Print: #ButtScan And Bulletproof Suits The Safety Zone: Beware drying nitrate-containing protic ionic liquids The Watch Glass: The Dead Sea Scrolls and Eating Safely in a Dirty World and Optical Fibers and AIDS Research and Bouncy Tank and "Mini-Q"...

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This Week on CENtral Science: #CPhI, a heated swimsuit, and more
Oct25

This Week on CENtral Science: #CPhI, a heated swimsuit, and more

Tweet of the week: I just pipetted from the reagent bottle. Forgive me #RealTimeChem people. — Chad Jones (@TheCollapsedPsi) October 25, 2013 To the network: Cleantech Chemistry: Gates Invests In KiOR, Elevance Coming to U.S. Fine Line: CPhI Day Four: Clean-up and CPhI Day Three: All the King’s Horses? and CPhI Day Two: Complexity Prevails and CPhI Day One: Theme Time Newscripts: Amusing News Aliquots The Safety Zone: New OSHA tools for controlling chemical exposure The Watch Glass: Frog Eggs and Preserving the Past and Heated Swimsuit and Agent Orange’s Legacy and Man, Space, and Life Support...

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CPhI Day Four: Clean-up
Oct24

CPhI Day Four: Clean-up

Day Four of CPhI, the third day of the exhibition, is always clean-up day. If you find someone who is still around, he or she will likely have time to chat. I finally caught up with Xavier Jeanjean, vice president of sales and business development at Isochem, the French pharmaceutical chemicals firm. Like others, Jeanjean is guardedly optimistic about the drawn-out recovery in contract services for active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs). He likes the complex molecule/service package angle that is shaping up for the CPhI Review article on Nov. 11. Like many others, including Markus Blocher, CEO of Dottikon, he sees the call for high tech manufacturing and services as a vindication of a long-standing strategy of marketing chemicals as part of a comprehensive technology/regulatory/quality package.  It was interesting to hear that Isochem is making an effort to concentrate primarily on the pharma market next year, given that other players, notably Saltigo, have shifted their emphasis to specialties and agricultural chemicals of late. But Jeanjean gives one very good reason to lean into APIs just now: “Innovation is back.” The complex molecules I have alluded to all week are real. They are currently coming forward with momentum and their owners are in need of a lot of specialized support. Review to come. Cultural Note I: C&EN got beat on tweets! Congratulations to our good friend in the Press Room, Brandi Schuster, editor-in-chief of ChemManager. No “I-prizes” are given for blogging, unfortunately. Cultural Note II: I noticed that Josh Fischman tweeted about my Day 3 post—The tweets were rolling on big video screens around the Messe all week. A regular birdhouse, it was! Thanks Josh and Ann Thayer for twittering about Fine Line at...

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