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Air Products Confers Major Gift of Technology

November 28, 2000
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Air Products and Chemicals has donated a major technology portfolio to the University of Pittsburgh.

LEHIGH VALLEY, Pa. — Air Products and Chemicals, Inc., has donated a major technology portfolio to the University of Pittsburgh consisting of more than 50 patents involving process technologies to manufacture N-vinylformamide (NVF) and products derived from NVF. NVF is a unique low-toxicity monomer for environmentally benign applications in regulatory-compliant products.

Valuation of the technology portfolio depends on many factors, including the timing of introduction into various end-market segments and the market share captured. The University has assembled a team to develop a commercialization approach for the portfolio, which will most likely involve partnerships with multiple international companies. If, as is expected, the NVF portfolio can be introduced commercially and is well received, the University has estimated that the portfolio has the potential to generate significant revenues during the first decade of commercialization.

It is also expected that the donated patents, which are specifically in the areas of NVF monomer, NVF derivative monomers and value-added polymers, will benefit the Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering by enabling the faculty and students within the department to explore new research possibilities.

Air Products, which had researched and developed NVF monomer and its manufacturing process, discontinued development of the estate when the company refocused its businesses on core technologies. Soon thereafter, Air Products began searching for a university on which to confer the technology. According to John C. Tao, corporate director technology partnerships at Air Products, the University of Pittsburgh was selected through an intensive competition.

The chemical properties and low toxicity of NVF result in high potential for cost-effective applications across a broad range of end-use industrial products. Some of these applications include: specialty papers (such as for ink jet printing), adhesives, industrial coatings, ion exchange resins (for separation-purification purposes), oil field and mining chemicals, textile chemicals and biomedical products.

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