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May 5, 2003
Volume 81, Number 18
CENEAR 81 18 p. 54
ISSN 0009-2347
NICHE PLAYER

Chiral Quest Sees Advantages In Independence

Two big fine chemicals companies recently made significant acquisitions of chiral technology. Avecia acquired the chiral technology portfolio of Synthon Chiragenics, and DSM bought a stake in Syncom, known for its chiral chemistry. These moves seem to fulfill prevailing predictions of consolidation in the fine chemicals industry.

Meanwhile, Chiral Quest, the chiral chemistry development company born from the intellectual property developed by Xumu Zhang at Pennsylvania State University, State College, raised its profile by going public. Among niche companies, it is one of the few that remains completely independent. C&EN asked Alan D. Roth, Chiral Quest's chief executive officer, about the prospects for the niche company in the current business climate.

C&EN: With major fine chemicals companies broadening their chiral technology portfolios, what role is there still for specialized companies like Chiral Quest?

ROTH: Companies with cutting-edge intellectual property positions and commercially viable technologies, such as Chiral Quest, go beyond the limits of what the big chemical and pharmaceutical players generally can do by themselves on a dedicated basis. Increasingly often, a pharmaceutical company benefits when either itself or its fine chemicals manufacturer searches for the most effective technology, even if this means sourcing from a third-party niche provider. Companies no longer settle for default in-house offerings.

C&EN: What does independence confer to a niche chiral technology company?

ROTH: Chiral Quest is the only player in the industry to be the sole inventor, manager, and licensee of all of its products. The advantages of this status are twofold: Chiral Quest is never involved in conflicts of interest that could arise between a client, a licensee distributor, and the original owner of the technology. And we can negotiate directly and freely with any client without having to address strategic or financial impositions from a third-party owner of the technology. This flexibility, freedom, and independence from any licensor or shareholder means that any client company in the market can derive value from the transparent and strictly independent business relationship we offer.

C&EN: How long can Chiral Quest remain independent?

ROTH: The acquisition of niche players by the big names is not surprising. Any major fine chemicals company wants to differentiate itself by offering the best possible palette of technologies. This is often easiest done by acquiring a good-quality niche operator rather than by attempting to build expertise from scratch. In that context, we may attract attention as a possible target, but our strategy is to remain firmly independent and to serve the whole market to the best of our abilities.

C&EN: It appears that going public may enable Chiral Quest to play in the manufacturing arena as well. What makes you think Chiral Quest can compete against the big players in this activity?

ROTH: I don't see a relationship between going public and competing in the manufacturing arena. We certainly don't compete with any of the big players in manufacturing; in fact, they are important clients of ours. But as a public company, we naturally now enjoy access to equity markets and institutional investors. However, our investments will continue to be focused on strategic areas that create the most value for clients and shareholders.

C&EN: You have identified generic producers as one of your major customer markets. How can they benefit from Chiral Quest?

ROTH: Because profitability for generic manufacturers depends critically on cost of goods, our products and services may be attractive to generic producers. Our objective is to demonstrate to the market how cost-effective chiral induction can really be compared with traditional separation.


COVER STORY
CHIRAL BUSINESS
Fine chemicals companies are jockeying for position to deliver the increasingly complicated chiral small molecules of the future

CONTEST
Vying For Chiral Hydroformylation Advantage

NICHE PLAYER
Chiral Quest Sees Advantages In Independence

STEADY SHARE
Worldwide sales of single-enantiomer pharmaceutical products approach $160 billion

BLOCKBUSTERS
Top 10 single-enantiomer products belong to billion-dollar club

CHIRALITY AT WORK
Drug developers can learn much from recent successful and failed chiral switches

REALITY CHECK
When Chemistry Bows To Economics

HARVEST
Research in Chiral Fine Chemicals Reaps Recognition

CONSTANT
Chiral separations are enduring items in the toolbox

CASE HISTORIES
History and choice shape portfolios

CALENDAR
Events Of Interest





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Chemical & Engineering News
Copyright © 2003 American Chemical Society



 
Visit SGI
COVER STORY
CHIRAL BUSINESS
Fine chemicals companies are jockeying for position to deliver the increasingly complicated chiral small molecules of the future

CONTEST
Vying For Chiral Hydroformylation Advantage

NICHE PLAYER
Chiral Quest Sees Advantages In Independence

STEADY SHARE
Worldwide sales of single-enantiomer pharmaceutical products approach $160 billion

BLOCKBUSTERS
Top 10 single-enantiomer products belong to billion-dollar club

CHIRALITY AT WORK
Drug developers can learn much from recent successful and failed chiral switches

REALITY CHECK
When Chemistry Bows To Economics

HARVEST
Research in Chiral Fine Chemicals Reaps Recognition

CONSTANT
Chiral separations are enduring items in the toolbox

CASE HISTORIES
History and choice shape portfolios

CALENDAR
Events Of Interest


Related Stories
Custom Chemicals
[C&EN, Feb. 17, 2003]

Pharma Business
[C&EN, Jan. 27, 2003]

Fine Chemicals
[C&EN, July 22, 2002]

Chiral Chemistry
[C&EN, Jun. 10, 2002]

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