BASF takes stake in Chemspeed


BASF intends to strengthen its operations in the field of combinatorial materials research (CMR) and so additionally stimulate its polymer and plastics research. To this end, BASF is acquiring a minority share in Chemspeed Ltd., which is headquartered in Augst near Basle, Switzerland. BASF will also be entitled to nominate a member of Chempeed's Board of Directors. The first nominee is Professor Hans-Jürgen Quadbeck-Seeger, who was a member of BASF's Board of Executive Directors and responsible for research until his retirement in 1997.

BASF is expecting its engagement to yield substantial time and cost savings in the search for new or improved polymers. "This field," explains Professor Hans Uwe Schenck, head of polymer research at BASF, "is at present undergoing a revolutionary change thanks to combinatorial materials research. The related improved efficiency in the process of innovation is an important goal of our research strategy."

In CMR, parallel reactors rapidly synthesize many new materials on a small scale which are then tested immediately for important material properties. In combinatorial process loops promising lead structures and structure-activity relations are identified from a multiplicity of synthetic recipes, process conditions and measurement results. As previously, these lead structures subsequently undergo the classic optimization steps leading finally to a sales product.

Chemspeed is among the global leaders in the field of parallel reactors, which play an important part in combinatorial materials research. "Our products," explains Dr. Rolf Gueller, CEO of Chemspeed, "are at the cutting edge of the technology; in addition, a clever modular system makes it possible to develop tailor-made solutions for every customer." In BASF, he adds, Chemspeed sees the preferred partner for the further development of key components for combinatorial materials research. These R&D efforts in turn have an extremely positive influence on the other markets of Chemspeed Ltd. as well.

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