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No. 366, March 2000

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American Companies in Japan


A Houston company that operates a global Internet-based exchange for buying and selling commodity chemicals, plastics and fuel products in bulk established an office in Tokyo. Through a local presence, CHEMATCH.COM hopes to sign up more Japanese companies as members. At present, 125 or so firms worldwide participate in the CheMatch.com marketplace, which is open for trading 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

In exchange for $2 million in cash plus future milestone and royalty payments, QUESTCOR PHARMACEUTICALS, INC. gave DAINIPPON PHARMACEUTICAL CO., LTD. an exclusive worldwide license to use its ppGpp Degradase and Peptide Deformylase technology in the development and commercialization of drugs. In January 1998, the Japanese firm had partnered with one of two firms that merged late last year to form Questcor. Under that three-year agreement, the pair applied the ppGpp Degradase and Peptide Deformylase technology to the discovery and the development of antibacterial compounds. After two years, Dainippon Pharmaceutical wanted to become more involved in the work, but as part of the deal creating Questcor, it was decided that the Hayward, California company would change the thrust of its activities. Licensing the research technology to Dainippon Pharmaceutical resolved the conflicting goals of the partners.

INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS MACHINES CORP. gave major photoresist supplier JSR CORP. the right to commercialize its deep ultraviolet bilayer resist technology. The JSR product, known as EIRIS, short for enhanced integrated resist imaging system, should be available in sample quantities in May. It consists of a silicon-containing resist that imparts high etch resistance and a thick antireflective coating. In what surely is music to the ears of industry executives, the Japanese manufacturer promises that EIRIS will allow semiconductor makers to turn out the next generation of ever-smaller and more complex chip designs using their existing production equipment. The alternative is to buy expensive lithography equipment like high numerical-aperture steppers to produce devices with finer line geometries. Commercial production of EIRIS is expected to begin in 2002 at one of JSR's domestic plants and at the Sunnyvale, California factory operated by its U.S. subsidiary.

An exchange rate of ¥109=$1.00 was used in this report.aaaaaa

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