Angels have landed in upstate New York - and they've brought with them $4 million for resin maker Cyclics Corp.
Schenectady, N.Y.-based Cyclics recently announced the completion of a round of ``angel'' investment in which 25 private investors poured $4.2 million into the firm in exchange for common stock. Cyclics now has raised more than $33 million from almost 50 investors since opening in 1999.
Recent investors include one of Cyclics' equipment vendors and a former plastics industry executive who has been working as an adviser with the firm, according to communications director Tim Ullmann.
``This funding will be operating capital for [research and development] for our next-generation products, as well as marketing and communications,'' Ullmann said.
But Cyclics first is working on getting its first-generation products out the door. That will happen later this year when the firm opens a specialty polybutylene terephthalate plant in Schwarzheide, Germany. The plant will have annual capacity of 5.5 million pounds - a number expected to double sometime in 2006 - and will employ 50-70.
The plant is located within a BASF AG chemical complex. BASF also supplies Cyclics with PBT feedstock. Ullman said Cyclics chose to locate its first plant in Germany because of the availability of the BASF site and because of ``a number of large potential customers'' in Europe.
Cyclics' first major customer will be P-Group, an engineering resins compounder in Ferrara, Italy, which has agreed to purchase ``significant volumes'' of Cyclics' CBT-brand PBT. Cyclics also struck a deal in early 2003 with Dow Chemical Co. under which Midland, Mich.-based Dow will be Cyclics' sole supplier to the automotive market.
Automotive is expected to be one of the largest end markets for Cyclics PBT, which officials said performs like a thermoset but processes like a thermoplastic.
The catalyst technology used to make Cyclics' material was purchased from GE Plastics, which first developed it to improve the performance of polycarbonate. Cyclics investor and board member Walter Robb was senior vice president of research at GE Plastics when the technology was developed.
In the Cyclics' process, PBT is broken down into smaller molecules, then reformed to give PBT-type traits to a variety of materials and applications.
In anticipation of the launch, Cyclics has done a number of test runs with toll compounder Pressure Chemical Inc. in Leland, N.C.
Cyclics employs 31 at an office and testing center in Schenectady and currently has 12 employees in Germany.