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Posted: Dec 24, 2010
RUSNANO Supervisory Council Approves New Investment Projects: Aggregate Budgets Surpass 26 Billion Rubles
(Nanowerk News) Meeting in regular session, the Supervisory Council of the Russian Corporation of Nanotechnologies approved the corporation's participation in seven new investment projects. Aggregate budgets of the projects exceed 26 billion rubles and include cofinancing from RUSNANO of more than 12 billion rubles.
Polytetrafluoroethylene-based antifriction and sealing materials
In nanostructured materials, the Supervisory Council approved a project to establish production of next-generation materials made with nanomodified high molecular weight polytetrafluoroethylene, or PTFE. Technology at the project's core for modifying the PTFE was developed by Russian scientists and has no analogy. The project company will manufacture goods—slabs, flanges, shafts, pipes, and finished items—for antifriction and sealing for machines and mechanisms that must work under harsh conditions: high temperatures, heavy loads, and inhospitable environments. The new products will serve, among others, the automobile-building, space, nuclear energy, aviation, and shipbuilding industries. The goods have lower friction coefficient and higher wear resistance (orders of magnitude higher than unmodified PTFE), low strain relaxation, biological stability, and resistance to chemicals, heat, and radiation—all competitive advantages. The Karpov Institute of Physical Chemistry (Moscow), one of the oldest chemical research centers in Russia, was applicant for the project.
EuroTech Transfer, a new direct investment fund
The Supervisory Council approved RUSNANO's participation in EuroTech Transfer Fund, a new European direct investment fund for technology transfer. The fund will encourage introduction of nanotechnologies in Russia, It will attract innovative technologies from Western European countries, provide the resources to create centers for technological development in Russia, and draw specialists in research and technology sectors to the centers. The fund will invest in companies that have advanced to pre-mass production or companies that wish to broaden their business or market shares by establishing production on the territory of the Russian Federation. RUSNANO's partner in the endeavor, UniCredit Group, will provide consulting support in seeking leading technology companies in Western Europe and evaluating their investment potential. London and Moscow-based Fleming Family & Partners will become the management company for the new fund. The fund's target size is 15 billion rubles (50 million dollars). RUSNANO's share will up to 50 percent.
Highly-sensitive biosensors for label-free molecular detection
A project to produce instruments for molecular diagnostics—biosensors and replaceable biochips—also won support from the Supervisory Council. The project applicant, American company BiOptix, developed the diagnostic instruments, which, in contrast to traditional detectors of biomolecular interaction, not only ascertain the presence of a bioreaction but also determine its kinetic parameters. The biomolecules interactions are observed in real time, without using fluorescent or radioactive labeling. Label-free measurements simplify research considerably and enable study of previously unattainable reactions. Specialists from the BioNanoPhysics research and education center will assist in establishing production in Russia of the replaceable biochips used by the detectors to study biomolecular reactions. The biochips and instruments in this export-oriented project are in demand from laboratories, pharmaceutical companies, universities, and research institutes throughout the world.
Lithium-ion batteries with nanocomposite cathode material
The Supervisory Council approved a project for large-scale production of lithium-ion rechargeable batteries with nanocomposite cathode material (LiFePO4*? and olivine). The batteries will be used in portable electric power tools and in sources for failsafe power supplies and telecommunications. Olivine in the cathode makes it possible to charge the batteries quickly and safely; the olivine prevents the overheating that plague batteries with cathodes of other metal oxides. Permittivity of the new batteries is comparable to the world's best and degradation is insignificant as the number of charge-discharge cycles increases. The accumulators are expected to have an attractive cost/quality ratio.
Lithium ferro-phosphate nanocomposite cathodes
Another council-approved project, this one from the Novosibirsk Chemical Concentrates Plant, will produce the special material required to manufacture li-ion batteries. Scientists from the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences developed cathodes with nanocomposites of lithium ferro-phosphate to be used in the batteries. In electron and ion conduction, the cathodes are without parallel. The cathodes will be used in a Russian-Chinese project already approved by RUSNANO and underway, a li-ion battery production project with co-investor Thunder Sky.
Catalytic blocks and exhaust gas neutralizers
A joint project between the Ural Electrochemical Integrated Plant and Atex Group also won approval for co-investment from RUSNANO. The project will establish a modern production complex where catalytic blocks and exhaust gas neutralizers will be developed and manufactured. Nanoparticles of aluminum oxide and cerium compounds and particles of precious metals (platinum, palladium, and rhodium) will go into the production. The blocks and neutralizers that the project company produces will be used to manufacture cars and trucks with gas- and diesel-powered engines that meet Euro 4, Euro 5, and Euro 6 standards.
New first-in-class and biobetter drugs
Finally, the Supervisory Council authorized RUSNANO's co-investment in a biopharmaceutical project to develop, manufacture, and introduce nine drugs made with nanocomposites. Three of these are first-in-their-class albumin-histone medicines for treating acute leukemia and vascular diseases. One is an innovative drug for treating cirrhosis. Five are drugs in the biobetter class for treating anemia, diabetes, liver diseases, immunological pathologies, and growth hormone deficits. Biobetters are a new group of biological medicines that resemble existing biotech drugs but that have improved properties. The nine drugs in this project are currently in preclinical and clinical studies in Russia and in Europe. The Human Stem Cells Institute was applicant for the project in which Pharmsynthez (St. Petersburg) is also a participant. Both companies are for-profits.