Chem People website; National Institute of Clinical Excellence; BP; BASF; Intelligent Engineering; Chiron Corporation

  • A new website has been set up for chemists wishing to reconnect with ex-colleagues and old friends or identify new work contacts. The Chem People  website works in a similar way to that of friendsreunited. claims that people are signing up to the site from all over the world.

  • Sir Michael Rawlins, chairman of the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (Nice), has urged patients to go into doctors’ surgeries with Nice guidelines to demand why they aren’t being given the listed drugs. Speaking at an Erbi conference recently, he also bemoaned the fact that many prescribed medicines are wasted because people fail to take them.

  • BP has unveiled plans to spin off around half of its petrochemicals business to form a stand-alone entity, which it may float. The business, known as Olefins and derivatives, makes plastic materials that are sold to the manufacturers of goods such as polythene and plastic pipes. On 1 July 2004, Ralph Alexander will become the chief executive of BP Petrochemicals, taking over from Iain Conn.

  • BASF, the German chemical company, and Intelligent Engineering (IE), an Anglo-Canadian company, are now seeing their Sandwich Plate System (SPS) ship-building technology applied to road bridges. SPS has a steel-polyurethane-steel layered structure. The first SPS bridge is in Quebec, Canada and the manufacturers claim that it is 60 per cent lighter than its concrete equivalent.

  • Chiron Vaccines, a wholly owned UK subsidiary of US firm Chiron Corporation, has spun out the powder injection DNA vaccine technology and related development programmes that it acquired as part of its 2003 acquisition of PowderJect Pharmaceuticals ( Chem Brit., July 2003, p6). A new company called PowerMed, which is led by some of PowderJect’s former managers, is acquiring the technology. PowerMed will develop the DNA vaccines in former PowderJect laboratories in Oxford, UK.