ISPE and GMP unite in Tampa
One year after the International Society for Pharmaceutical Engineering (ISPE) acquired the GMP Institute, both are now located under one roof in Tampa, FL. Under the terms of the agreement, the GMP retained its name but is considered a division of the ISPE.

The completion of the acquisition combines more than 40 years of experience in training and education for the healthcare manufacturing industry. “The GMP Institute is an educational organization that fits into ISPE's strategic plan. As the Society continues to expand into basic training, we seek to offer members services and programs that will help them improve performance,” notes Bob Best, president and CEO of both organizations.—MV

Applied expands
In an effort to broaden its market share in China, Applied Materials (Santa Clara, CA) is establishing a chip-equipment training center in Beijing. Applied hopes the new center will increase its sales and service operations in that region. During Semicon China officials from Applied estimated that China's semiconductor capital equipment market will grow to $5 billion by 2005. In 2000, Applied's sales to China totaled $100 million. That figure is expected to jump to $1 billion in the near future.—MV

Asyst receives major order
Asyst Technologies Inc. (Fremont, CA) has received a multimillion-dollar, multiple-system order for its Plus Portal tool front end from a leading U.S.-based provider of semiconductor manufacturing equipment. The systems incorporate an Asyst-Japan-developed and built UTM-3500 robot with the Plus Portal front end, which is a fully automated and integrated system designed to provide isolation and automation solutions for OEM's wafer processing and metrology tools.—LJB

Axcel hires Hodess for new facility
Axcel Photonics has awarded Hodess Building Company (HBC) a design-build contract for its new 18,000-square-foot facility in Marlboro, MA. The project scope includes development of new advanced technology cleanroom space as well as additions and refurbishment to existing offices. Axcel develops and manufactures advanced semiconductor optoelectronic devices for the fiberoptic telecommunications industry.—LJB

Adept partners with Shenyang Institute of Automation
Adept Technology Inc. (San Jose, CA) announced that Siasun Robot & Automation Co., Ltd., a subsidiary of the Shenyang Institute of Automation, has agreed to be its system integrator in China. Siasun will integrate Adept products, including the Adept Cobra and the Adept-XL robot series, into complete automation solutions for the telecommunications, electronics, appliances, pharmaceutical, food processing and automotive components industries.—LJB

Investors eye genomics
The first issue of Genomics Investing, published by Asset Alternatives (Wellesley, MA), spotlights three genomics sub-sectors involving protein research that will drive considerable growth going forward. These areas include: proteomics, the study of proteins involved in disease pathways; structural genomics, in which scientists “solve” the three-dimensional structures of protein drug targets; and monoclonal antibodies, copies of disease-fighting proteins that can be used as drugs. “Genomics holds tremendous promise for the future of health care, and that promise is beginning to manifest itself in the linking of genes to complex disorders,” says Brian Gormley, the newsletter's editor.—LJB

PPI sets up environmental division
PPI Modular Structures (Naples, FL) has established a new division specializing in environmental structures. The Environmental Rooms division, based in Chicago, is under the sales management of Michael Napadow, who was formerly president of Environmental Systems Inc. He will expand the company's expertise in designing and building environmental and cleanrooms where strict atmospheric control are essential.—LJB

FIBC training course date change
B.A.G. Corp. (Dallas, TX) has changed the date of its free training course, “B.A.G. School,” covering the use of Flexible Intermediate

Bulk Containers (FIBCs) from May 23-24 to June 5-6. The course still will be conducted in Kingsport, Tennessee. It is designed for FIBC users of all levels. Participants will learn the ins and outs of FIBCs, FIBC liners and equipment used in FIBC operations. The course also covers groundable FIBCs and static-dissipative FIBCs and the differences between the two.—LJB

Semi equipment makers feel the crunch
Recent announcements of order push-outs and cancellations have caused automation systems manufacturer PRI Automation and front-end manufacturer Varian Semiconductor Equipment Associates to layoff personnel.

With the current market uncertainty, both PRI and Varian plan to focus spending on R&D and believe that now is the time to “align expenses” and prepare for impending arrival of 300 mm technology.

PRI (Billerica, MA) says the recent reductions in capital spending by many of its customers is forcing them to decrease its workforce by some 20 percent, or 370 people worldwide.

“As difficult as these cost-cutting measures are, they are necessary in order to bring our expenses in line with current business projections,” says PRI CEO Mitch Tyson.

Varian (Gloucester, MA) is feeling the effects of the downturn as well and has reduced its quarterly estimates by approximately five percent. In a story that appeared in The Boston Herald, officials from Varian say that the company has laid-off 100 full time employees and 100 contract employees to date.

“We will maintain our critical investment in new product development to position the company for growth opportunities when the industry recovers,” notes Tyson.

Officials from PRI say they are still feeling a push for 300 mm equipment, “The last downturn put a stop to 300 mm, we don't see that happening this time,” says Jeff Nestel-Patt, director of corporate communications for PRI.—MV

Fedders acquires Polenz
Fedders Corp. (Liberty Corner, NJ) has acquired Polenz GmbH from Senior plc. Headquartered in Norderstedt, Polenz distributes a line of heating, ventilating and air conditioning products. Polenz has ten sales offices and service centers located throughout Germany and distributes products under industry brand names as well as its own brands. According to Fedders Chief Executive Officer Sal Giordano, Jr., “Polenz's well-established distribution of air treatment products in Germany should enable Fedders to expand sales of its commercial and industrial products, including cleanroom fan filter units for semiconductor, medical and pharmaceutical industries.”—LJB

Pharmaceutical Profiles opens drug development facility
Science Minister Lord Sainsbury of Turville has officially opened the 2.5-million-pound headquarters of early phase development company Pharmaceutical Profiles. The company specializes in the use of imaging techniques to improve decision-making in drug development. The facility includes three dedicated clinical imaging suites, a state-of-the-art GMP facility and research laboratories as well as office space and a lecture theater.—LJB


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