New Saudi-Korean joint venture to establish facility in PlasChem Park

Updated 21 April 2017

New Saudi-Korean joint venture to establish facility in PlasChem Park

A new joint venture between Maydan Industry for Industrial Development & Investments Co. (Maydan Industry), Ahmad Kassim Al-Amoudi Group Co. Ltd. (AKA), and the South Korean technology company SFC has been signed to establish a manufacturing plant in PlasChem Park. The new facility will produce a range of surfactants, which are specialty chemicals used in the production of detergents and other applications.
A new company named the Surfactant Detergent Company LTD. (SDC) will be established as part of the JV agreement. The company will be based in PlasChem Park, a chemical and conversion industrial park adjacent to Sadara Chemical Company in Jubail Industrial City 2, developed jointly by Sadara Chemical Company and the Royal Commission for Jubail and Yanbu.
The JV agreement follows a long-term supply agreement for Ethylene Oxide (EO) and Propylene Oxide (PO) signed previously between Sadara and the SDC partners, which will be supplied though dedicated pipelines constructed by Sadara.
SDC will be the first company in the region to use the very latest Korean technology developed by SFC. The locally sourced raw materials from Sadara and advanced technology will enable the company to create value for the local market in terms of economic diversification and job creation for Saudis by manufacturing new products at competitive prices for local and regional customers.
Abdulrahman Al-Swailem, chairman of Maydan Industry, said: “This new venture is inspired by the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 which seeks to diversify the economy. The planned manufacturing facility is expected to be 40,000 metric tons with an approximate capital expenditure of SR189 million ($50.3 million).”
Abdullah Ahmad Al-Amoudi, chairman of AKA, noted: “The new project will meet the local and regional market needs for surfactants in a wide range of applications. We thank our colleagues at Sadara and the Royal Commission of Jubail and Yanbu on this occasion for their tremendous support in finalizing these agreements and their efforts to develop PlasChem Park.”
Hong Junko, CEO of SFC, said: “This joint venture is a great opportunity for us and our Saudi partners, as we are creating an advanced, cost-efficient factory that utilizes our technical knowledge to create added value for the Kingdom. The project has already been initiated by senior engineers preparing for the final engineering designs, which will be followed by construction of the plant itself.”


J-Clinic study identifies powerful new drug

Updated 26 February 2020

J-Clinic study identifies powerful new drug

A powerful new antibiotic compound has been identified by researchers at MIT using a machine-learning algorithm. The drug killed many of the world’s most problematic disease-causing bacteria in laboratory tests, including some strains that are resistant to all known antibiotics. It also cleared infections in two different mouse models.

The computer model, which can screen more than a 100 million chemical compounds in a matter of days, is designed to pick out potential antibiotics that kill bacteria using different mechanisms than those of existing drugs. 

Regina Barzilay and James Collins, who are faculty co-leads for MIT’s Abdul Latif Jameel Clinic for Machine Learning in Health (J-Clinic), are the senior authors of the study, which appears in Cell. The first author of the paper is Jonathan Stokes, a post-doc at MIT and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard.

J-Clinic is a key part of the MIT Quest for Intelligence and focuses on developing machine-learning technologies to revolutionize the prevention, detection, and treatment of disease.

In their new study, the researchers also identified several other promising antibiotic candidates, which they plan to test further. They believe the model could also be used to design new drugs, based on what it has learned about chemical structures that enable drugs to kill bacteria.

“The machine-learning model can explore, in silico, large chemical spaces that can be prohibitively expensive for traditional experimental approaches,” said Barzilay, the Delta Electronics professor of electrical engineering and computer science in MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL).

Over the past few decades, very few new antibiotics have been developed, and most of those newly approved antibiotics are slightly different variants of existing drugs. Current methods for screening new antibiotics are often prohibitively costly, require a significant time investment, and are usually limited to a narrow spectrum of chemical diversity.

“We’re facing a growing crisis around antibiotic resistance, and this situation is being generated by both an increasing number of pathogens becoming resistant to existing antibiotics, and an anemic pipeline in the biotech and pharmaceutical industries for new antibiotics,” Collins said.

“The world is in desperate need of new antibiotics to combat dangerous diseases, so it is hugely encouraging that the team at J-Clinic at MIT, has helped make a breakthrough in finding a genuinely new one using machine learning,” said Fady Jameel, Community Jameel president, international. “For decades, Community Jameel has been committed to supporting research that can help improve people’s lives. Combatting the risk from antibiotic-resistant infections, like tuberculosis, could have a profound impact on us all.”

The research was funded and made possible by a number of supporters including the Abdul Latif Jameel Clinic for Machine Learning in Health.