The NCN unit, which makes products with typical nitrogen-carbon-nitrogen bonds, operates in a competitive market and does not meet Degussa's profitability targets, so it was decided that turning the business into a mid-sized enterprise with a regional focus would make it more efficient. "We pooled the NCN activities into a separate business a year ago, wanting to create a stronger player in the market," Degussa spokeswoman Hannelore Gantzer told In-PharmaTechnologist.com. "There are 1,000 employees working for the unit and present employment contracts will be transferred to the new company." The NCN business comprises of two sites at Trostberg and Schalchen that make a whole range of chemical products, pigments, active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) and building blocks for chemical syntheses. An example of these chemicals are the pyrimidines which are found in a large number of vital molecules. Pyrimidines form the basis of many pharmaceuticals such as anti-AIDS agents or cancer drugs as well as crop protection agents including powerful herbicides. A new class of NCN chemicals are the auxiliary reagents for synthesizing active substances. Examples of these are guanylization agents and peptide coupling reagents. Guanidine compounds are essential building blocks of a large number of biologically active compounds such as pharmaceuticals or agrochemicals. The synthesis of guanidines requires a special reagent called a guanylization agent. The Trostberg R&D Competence Center is currently using NCN chemicals to develop new guanylization agents with a higher degree of reactivity and selectivity. These allow the production of complex active substances with higher purity and better yields. Comparable tests involving established guanylization reagents ensure that the optimal reagent is available for each synthesis task. Another representative of this class is the oxy-reagent which can be used to produce N-cyanimino compounds.