April 20, 2021
AIChE SmartBrief
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Business Update
February's historic winter storm took offline 33%, or 6 million barrels per day, of US oil refining capacity, exceeding the impact of Hurricane Harvey, which shut one-fifth of refining capacity, an analysis by Reuters and Wood Mackenzie shows. Refiners ExxonMobil, Philipps 66 and Valero Energy each project hundreds of millions of dollars in quarterly losses due to storm-related disruptions.
Full Story: Reuters (4/17) 
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Ethylene supplies remain constrained in the US after Winter Storm Uri and are affecting the production of other materials, according to this podcast. Polyethylene inventory levels declined from January to February, per American Chemistry Council and Vault Consulting data.
Full Story: ICIS News (UK) (free content) (4/13) 
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SK Capital Partners is reportedly in talks to buy Clariant's pigments unit. The potential sale would support Clariant's plan to restructure its portfolio with an emphasis on specialty chemicals.
Full Story: Bloomberg (4/14) 
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A review has been initiated by the European Medicines Agency for VIR-7831, the investigational monoclonal antibody co-developed by GlaxoSmithKline and Vir Biotechnology as an early treatment for COVID-19. Included in the review will be an interim analysis of safety and efficacy data for 583 randomized patients, which showed VIR-7831 reduced hospitalization or mortality by 85% in participants who received the monoclonal antibody in comparison to those given a placebo.
Full Story: PharmaTimes online (UK) (4/16) 
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Did you take any time off from your career specifically due to the COVID-19 pandemic (either voluntarily or not voluntarily)?
Chemical Technology News
Trillium Renewable Chemicals, a company created by Capricorn Partners and Southern Research, aims to commercialize Southern Research technology that converts sugar, glycerol and other renewable feedstocks into chemical products such as acrylonitrile, propylene glycol and acrylic acid. "Local production from renewable resources can meet the growing demand for green chemicals and offer stable pricing and a more secure supply chain," says Trillium CEO Corey Tyree.
Full Story: CompositesWorld (4/16) 
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First Solar's Series 6 CuRe panel retains at least 92% of its original performance at the end of 30 years, indicating one of the lowest degradation rates in the industry. The company attributes the results to its Copper Replacement program, which replaces copper with elements like antimony and arsenic from the fifth column of the periodic table.
Full Story: PV Magazine (Germany) (4/19) 
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Get granted for "blue-sky" ideas - apply by May 1
In honor of Bob Langer's pioneering spirit, the Langer Prize awards an unrestricted grant of up to $100,000 to support creative researchers and engineering entrepreneurs tackle high-risk, high-impact challenges with the potential of achieving game-changing innovations. Apply Now!
Energy, Sustainability & Safety
Hydrogen is an emerging fuel source for US crackers as the industry seeks opportunities to curb carbon emissions, said Ramesh Ramachandran of MEGVIN Advisors. Dow and partners are also working on a new process that would use hydrogen to convert ethane into ethylene.
Full Story: ICIS News (UK) (free content) (4/14) 
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Biological Engineering & Pharmaceuticals
Repertoire, a startup working on anti-cancer T-cell therapies, raised $189 million in its Series B funding round. With the new capital it will continue work on the therapies in its pipeline and enhance the capabilities of its immune response drug discovery platform.
Full Story: FierceBiotech (4/13) 
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A new drug application was filed by Akebia Therapeutics with the FDA for vadadustat, a drug to treat anemia in adult patients not on dialysis and those that are dialysis-dependent. The FDA's review of data from its non-dialysis and dialysis trials over the next 60 days will establish if the NDA is acceptable for review, according to Akebia CEO John Butler.
Full Story: Healio (free registration) (4/14) 
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Eli Lilly and Co. was one of the supporters that helped raise $139 million for Jaguar Gene Therapy in a Series B funding round. Jaguar is developing preclinical gene therapies that target galactosemia, type 1 diabetes and gene-linked autism.
Full Story: BioPharma Dive (4/13) 
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Results from last week's SmartPulse
If you could go back to school, which emerging subject area would you most like to study?
Big Data Analytics
Cybersecurity and Artificial Intelligence
Synthetic Biology and Regenerative Engineering
Renewable Energy and Energy Storage
Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage
Materials & Nanotechnology
Nanotechnology company MECHnano plans to create a lab in Arizona State University's Polytechnic Innovation District to further develop its process for using carbon nanotubes in 3D printing. The tiny material is conductive and harder than a diamond.
Full Story: State Press Magazine (Arizona State University) (4/14) 
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Education & Government Update
Mayne Pharma has gained the FDA's approval for its contraceptive Nextstellis, or drospirenone and estetrol, which is expected to become commercially available by the end of June.
Full Story: eMPR (4/16) 
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Institute News
April's Virtual Local Section meeting shows how to make online meetings rewarding and productive
Working remotely can be logistically and psychologically difficult. There are, however, ways to use the virtual environment to our professional advantage. At this month's meeting of AIChE's Virtual Local Section (VLS), Emil Kresl of UT-Austin's Office of Learning and Development will discuss three key principles of effective virtual meetings: setting explicit expectations, creating a structure for engagement, and accommodating participants. The free online meeting takes place live on Wednesday, Apr. 28, 9:00-10:00 PM Eastern, and will be repeated at alternate times -- all with live chat. Reserve your seat.
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Career Focus
Switching word choice can boost authority at work and lead to better outcomes. Instead of "you're welcome" say "I'm happy I was able to help"; instead of "I don't know" say "I'll find out"; and instead of "I can't" say "here's what I can do for you."
Full Story: Fast Company (tiered subscription model) (4/13) 
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Anna Quindlen,
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About AIChE
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