Umicore takes 21 per cent stake in Reaxa

By Wai Lang Chu

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Catalysis Chemistry

Avecia spin-off, Reaxa, has announced that Umicore has taken a 21
per cent stake in a move that underlines Reaxa's business strategy
in looking at joint R&D, new product development and toll
manufacturing agreements.

The deal comes just as Indian pharmaceutical firm Nicolas Piramel agreed to purchase Avecia in a move that increases its presence in the European market as a major custom manufacturing business.

Avecia​ CEO, Pete Jackson, said that Nicolas Piramal had the option not to take this up but looked at the due diligence findings and decided to do so, though whether it would remain a long-term investor was uncertain.

Under the terms of the agreement The Precious Metals Products and Catalysts business unit of Umicore will now promote Reaxa's products and services through its existing technical sales force.

Reaxa said they were confident that this bulk-scale agreement - which has some exclusions - would complement Reaxa's distribution agreement with Sigma-Aldrich for lab-scale amounts.

"Umicore​ is not there just to be a stakeholder. They already supply us with previous metals and recovery services and will represent all of the products and services of Reaxa at bulk-scale,"​ said Jackson.

The financial details of the agreement means that Umicore has taken 21 per cent of the stock Reaxa has originally put up for sale. Avecia now has 25 per cent with Professor Steve Ley and his co-workers at Cambridge University (who originally devised the technologies Reaxa Markets) have 27 per cent.

Corporate ventures firm Accelris and other private investors own 13 per cent and the management and staff the remaining 14 per cent.

In commenting on the future, Jackson did not rule out any intention of Umicore buying Reaxa outright. "Our stake of 21 per cent is good and is a good platform. Lets see what develops,"​ he commented.

Umicore now have a stake in Reaxa's encapsulated catalyst (EnCAt) technology, which simplifies processes, reduces metal contamination in products and process waste, and aids catalyst recovery and recycling.

The CPhI Expo in Madrid also gave Reaxa the opportunity to announce a licensing agreement with Japan's Hokko Chemical, giving it exclusive commercialisation rights outside Japan to Hokko's palladium-containing perovskite catalysts in organic chemistry applications.

The deal opens up the way for a new generation of palladium containing perovskite (Pd-Perovskite) catalysts made by Hokko for use in high-efficiency catalytic converters to be developed for organic chemistry applications.

Reaxa plans to develop Pd-perovskities for use in pharmaceutical, agrochemical and fine chemical synthesis, and to apply these new and highly active catalysts to drug process development and scale-up.

"This agreement with Hokko gives Reaxa access to exciting new technology, complementing our existing EnCat encapsulated catalysts and QuadraPure metal scavengers,"​ said Jackson.

"The Pd-perovskite catalysts could compete with the EnCat technology. However, rather than the two products battling it out for market share, we feel that they both cover different areas over a broad spectrum of applications,"​ he told In-PharmaTechnologist.com.

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